Minister: Govt may use Emergency powers to increase fines for Covid-19 breaches instead of just RM1,000, up jail terms

22-Jan-2021 Intellasia | Malay Mail | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The federal government will be looking at imposing harsher penalties for breaches of rules related to Covid-19 including longer jail terms, and may increase fines from the current RM1,000 to a higher amount by using its powers under the Emergency, a minister said today.

Senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that one of the reasons for non-compliance of standard operating procedures relating to Covid-19 was due to the maximum compound of just RM1,000 under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342).

“So many consider RM1,000 to be too low, maybe for businesses, that’s why offences of breaching SOPs we always mention night clubs, night entertainment outlets, businesses that operate beyond operating hours, because for these companies, RM1,000 is too low,” he said today in a press conference.

He also noted as example that a company was issued a compound of only RM1,000 after its SOP breaches resulted in many of its factory workers being found to be Covid-19 positive and even resulted in the temporary closure of the factory, but said this had caused the public to be upset with the government.

“Many citizens were angry with us, because the fine is only RM1,000. But this cannot be avoided because the law already fixed it, Act 342 already provided RM1,000 only for fine,” he said.

While indicating that the government’s hands were tied due to the maximum compound of RM1,000 provided for breaching the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act, Ismail Sabri highlighted that the Emergency declared nationwide from January 11 to August 1 allows for the making of law through Ordinances for anything related to Covid-19.

“During this Emergency, we can amend and further increase the penalty, we can increase the compound imposed, so we have asked the attorney general to look into this.

“Firstly, the fine to individuals can be increased to the maximum. Secondly, the fine to companies, the compound could be increased, now it is RM1,000, maybe we can increase the maximum to be RM100,000, the jail term could be increased to a longer term,” he said, adding that this could be made into an Emergency Ordinance to ensure that Malaysians and companies comply with SOPs relating to Covid-19.

“So insyaAllah, I believe the Attorney general’s Chambers will look into this, if it is approved, we will enforce it immediately and the compounds can be issued on the spot. So I hope all citizens comply with SOPs without having to wait for action from the authorities,” he said.

Under the Emergency imposed on Malaysia currently, Parliament sittings have been suspended. The Federal Constitution allows for laws to be made by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong during the Emergency via Ordinances.


Category: Malaysia

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