‘RM10k fines may lead to complications’

PETALING JAYA: The issuance of RM10,000 compounds for standard operating procedure (SOP) violations has perplexed many people.

Police have said this is merely the default amount on the compound notice and can be reduced at the district health officer’s discretion.

But many are asking if this is the best approach to take in trying to stem SOP violations.

The Alliance for Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said he accepted the fact that law enforcement is essential in ensuring people complied with the SOP.

“I believe stringent action should be taken against repeat offenders.

“But as lots of offenders will appeal the compounds, it will burden Health Ministry personnel to go through each appeal, ” he said.

Lee said a tier system for offenders would be more practical with different rates for first, second and third-time offenders, and so on.

“For repeat offenders, the maximum amount could be imposed as per the Emergency Ordinance.

“The authorities could set a sufficient amount under the tier system for offenders based on the severity of offences, ” he said.

Lee urged all Malaysians to take up the challenge of receving “zero compounds” by diligently adhering to the SOP.

He added that SOP compliance should become the “new normal” as the country has been battling the pandemic for more than a year.

“If everybody can take up this challenge, there would be no more compounds as everyone would be disciplined, ” he said yesterday.

Universiti Sains Malaysia Assoc Prof Datuk Dr P. Sundramoorthy called for a system where the punishment fits the crime.

“You must be fair and just. It cannot be too lenient or too severe.

“As the range is no more than RM10,000, first offenders should not be punished as severely, ” he said.

But if they are repeat offenders, Dr Sundramoorthy said the penalty should be increased proportionately.

He also stressed that there should be different penalties against individual and corporate or organisational offenders.

“From my observation, individual violators will always be there in society but it is very serious when organisations or entities do not take the appropriate measures.

“There shouldn’t be any instances where the punishment to an entity or company is less than that of an individual, ” he said.

Malaysians Against Rape, Assault & Snatch Theft (Marah) founder Dave Avran said there seems to a general misunderstanding on the increase in the maximum fine from RM1,000 to RM10,000.

It is not a blanket fine for all SOP violations, he said.

‘Enforcement of the RM10,000 compound will only be on individuals who repeatedly breach the movement control order and those who could trigger the spread of Covid-19.

“We’re talking about people who remain stubborn by offending repeatedly and those who violate the interstate travel conditions.

“I am in agreement with the increase as I have personally seen many Malaysians behaving in a lackadaisical, careless and irresponsible manner and brazenly flouting the Covid-19 SOP.

“Hurting their pockets seems to be the only language they understand to make them comply with the SOP, ” he said, noting that they could still appeal for a reduction.

Avran also argued that imposing the maximum fine, then allowing it to be reduced, may lead to more complications.

“The system for tracking repeat offenders will be set up by the Health Ministry but who will update, maintain and keep track of the offenders? The ministry or the police?

“Who will be responsible for errors and omissions?” he asked.

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