Let’s be practical on the RM10k fine for SOP flouters

Datuk Idris Buang

KUCHING: The authorities are urged to be more practical in enforcing the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) and not issue blanket penalties to flouters.

In making this call, Muara Tuang assemblyman Datuk Idris Buang said while the maximum penalty for offenders was set at RM10,000, it shouldn’t be meted out arbitrarily.

“Instead, try to educate strictly on the importance of adhering to the Covid-19 SOPs to prevent the further transmissions of the pandemic,” he said yesterday.

He was responding to a recent case where an eatery worker in Sibu was issued a RM10,000 compound for not wearing his face mask correctly.

“As a law practitioner, I empathise with the plight of the worker in Sibu and I view that the enforcement shouldn’t simply punish the worker.

“I believe some consideration has to be taken in determining the amount of the penalty, that will be practical as at the time, the worker could unknowingly have committed the offence,” he said.

Recently, it was reported that three business owners and an assistant of a noodle stall in Sibu were fined RM10,000 each for breaching the conditional movement control order.

The four who were fined on Saturday, included two hairdressers;  one of them did not wear gloves while the other was without personal protective equipment (PPE) while at work.

An assistant of a Kampua (Foochow noodle) stall was also fined for not wearing her face mask properly which exposed her nose and mouth. The other was a coffee shop operator who did not put up a barricade line around his shop.

On Tuesday, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said issues surrounding the RM10,000 compound for those breaching Covid-19 SOPs would be addressed at a technical meeting.

Ismail Sabri said appeals could also be made to the district level health offices and they could use their discretion on whether to reduce the compound amount, based on the background of the violator.

He said discretion would be appropriate considering that an offender could be either from the lower income group or someone who was self-employed.