THE Emergency (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 will come into effect on March 11. Among others, this ordinance holds that companies or corporations that violate the standard operating procedures stipulated for the prevention and control of the Covid-19 pandemic can be fined up to RM50,000.
Restaurants owners and operators are struggling to generate revenue with the many restrictions already in place. If managing their cash flow is not difficult enough, they now have to take on the added role of policing rude, abusive or violent customers who insist on breaking the SOP on their premises.
With no enforcement authority at hand, it would be almost impossible for business owners to impose the SOP strictly without having to bear the consequences of their action.
The recent rampage at a restaurant in Brickfields by customers who were denied service because the place was closing for the day in adherence to the SOP is a case in point. There are many such incidents that affect the revenue of businesses in these trying times.
Our laws are in place to guide every citizen. We can all play a role in ensuring better enforcement of the law if we take a stand to self-regulate ourselves.
By not consuming or selling drugs, Malaysians are implementing self-regulation to avoid the consequences of the act. Why can’t we do the same with the other laws?
Unruly customers are not easy to control. It would also be close to impossible for staff of any business to watch every movement or action of their customers.
Of course, there are bad apples in business who abuse or violate the laws. They must be punished accordingly as a deterrent to others.
Malaysians are an educated lot. Our literacy rate is 95% and almost every Malaysian can read and write. Sufficient information about the SOPs is being disseminated via multiple channels to reach almost all Malaysians, so there is no excuse for anyone to claim ignorance.
Even if they are genuinely ignorant, the advice given by business owners should be taken in good faith to ensure everybody is following the SOPs.
It is time for the government to put more emphasis on self-regulation as a form of enhanced enforcement that will benefit all in the long run.
For example, if you know that only four people can dine at one table, then you come with three other persons. If you come with more, then the extra persons must voluntarily sit at another table. Insisting on sitting at the same table knowing very well it is an offence will put everybody at risk of a fine.
If we can instil a sense of self-regulation among Malaysians, I believe our nation will prosper dramatically, enriching every fabric of our social, economic and environmental development.
Batu Caves, Selangor