Fair enforcement of SOPs needed

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING: The only adequate deterrent for people to obey and to not violate the required standard operating procedures (SOPs) during the movement control order (MCO) is with frequent and fair enforcement of SOPs, said Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii.

He said that without proper enforcement, people would not be concerned even with the RM10,000 fine for violating the SOPs.

“The main issue is not the quantum being used to fine people for violating the SOPs, but rather the frequency and effectiveness of enforcement,” he said today.

He was responding to the amended Emergency (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021, which stated that effective March 11, those who breach the MCO regulations, can be fined up to RM10,000.

The Emergency Ordinance also stated that companies or corporations that violate the SOPs can be fined up to RM50,000.

Dr Yii also said that another issue with the enforcement is the double standards that have been practised.

“We see how ministers and VVIPs escape fines and punishment even when there is a clear breach of SOPs.

“Often, it is the regular people who are issued summons immediately while for the Perikatan Nasional (PN) ministers, no action is taken,” he said.

He further emphasised the quarantine laws that were lax just for the ministers, and it shows how separate rules apply for them and the common people.

“If rules are not fairly enforced towards the minister and VVIPs, how will that give confidence towards the normal people to comply with the set rules?”, he asked.

Dr Yii said that he was also concerned that with the increase in fine, it may increase the risk of corruption especially with enforcers demanding for kickbacks so that the public may not need to pay the full fine.

“So at the end of the day, the core issue is enforcement and until we address it and make sure it is done fairly and with the elements of justice to its enforcement, I am concerned that it may be open to abuse.

“Until we address the double standards and weakness in enforcement, I am concerned that how they intend to help curb SOP violations will be used to victimise the general public, especially the poor,” he stressed.

Having said that, he reminded everyone to follow all the necessary SOPs as it is important not just to protect themselves but those around them.