KUALA LUMPUR: The standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the movement control order by the National Security Council (NSC) are not static, says Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The Prime Minister said that the SOPs have to change in accordance with the Covid-19 situation at the time.
“They are not static but dynamic. We have to look at the situation and this requires adjustment to deal with differing situations. For example, before this, restaurants were allowed to receive customers for dining in. Then it was not allowed.
“I apologise if there are those who are confused. The NSC comes up with the SOP. Not by themselves. It is by negotiations. The SOPs are not just made up by the NSC arbitrarily, ” he told Bernama and RTM in a special discussion on the challenges of Covid-19 on Sunday (May 23).
Muhyiddin said he understood the grievances of the people who had a view that as if the Prime Minister stresses the implementation of the SOP.
He said the SOP is decided in a meeting attended by the Attorney General and Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to study the SOP, which will then be gazetted before being enforced.
"If you don't understand, you can also ask and we have requested the ministers and officials to give explanations.
“Community leaders who have empowerment programmes have also been given information so that they can help explain the situation and circumstances, ” he said.
He added that the state governments did not have the power to request to change the SOP, as the power rested with the Federal Government under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) of the Ministry of Health or the Minimum Standards of Housing, Accommodation and Employee Facilities Act 1990 (Act 446) under the Human Resources Ministry.
On the non-compliance of SOP, the Prime Minister said every action taken is based on the law, and everyone had the right to challenge it if they were innocent.
“If anyone commits an offence, we must take action so that they are punished. Like the current cases, celebrities or anyone. I do not want to mention names, it must be based on the law.
"What is the power to arrest or impose a compound of RM10,000? The SOP is based on law and gazetted. If it is not gazetted, it is not valid. This is something that not many people know. This is why if the government decides on an SOP, as long as it is not gazetted. it cannot be enforced yet," he said.
When asked about any double standards in the enforcement of SOPs, Muhyiddin stressed there was no double standard in government policy.
“The government does not discriminate whether the person is minister or prime minister. If there is violation of SOP and with clear evidence according to the law, they will not escape punishment - being compounded, charged and so on," he said.
However, as Malaysia has a population of 30 million people, the authorities could not monitor everyone and there might be a perception that some escape punishment.
As such, Muhyiddin requested the people not to violate the SOPs because they were not meant to restrict freedom, including human rights.
He also hoped the people would conduct their own “self-lockdown” to break the chain of infections that have seen daily cases rise above 6,000 infections a day.
He also advised everyone to remind others to do the same as the government’s efforts would come to nothing if the people did not adhere to the SOPs.
“There are those who ask why no total lockdowns? Do you own lockdowns, please stay at home and tell others to do the same because any efforts would not work if the people did not adhere to the SOPs, ” he said.
“If we cooperate, there is no need to fault anyone. Look for ways and pray that we are given protection and with these efforts, God willingly, we can win, ” he said.