KUCHING: It is time for the government to take stern action against those who deliberately violate the Movement Control Order (MCO), says an academician.
Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia Faculty of Syariah and Law senior lecturer Dr Muzaffar Syah Mallow said with the MCO entering Day 9 yesterday, the time for advice, reminders and warnings should be replaced with tough action against flouters.
“After more than one week of the MCO, everybody in the country should be alert about the order and there cannot be any excuses for people not to know and follow such order,” he said in a statement yesterday.
He stressed that it was important that the people take the MCO seriously in order to effectively curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
According to him, Section 22 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases 1988 clearly states that ‘Any person who (a) obstructs or impedes, or assists in obstructing or impeding, any authorised officer in the execution of his duty; (b) disobeys any lawful order issued by any authorised officer; (c) refuses to furnish any information required for the purposes of this Act or any regulations made under this Act; or (d) upon being required to furnish any information under this Act or any regulations made under this Act gives false information, commits an offence’.
He added that Section 24 of same Act stipulates that ‘Any person guilty of an offence under this Act for which no specific penalty is provided shall be liable on conviction (a) in respect of a first offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to fine or to both; (b) in respect of a second or subsequent offence, to imprisonment not exceeding five years or to fine or to both; (c) in respect of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding two hundred ringgit for every day during which such offence continues’.
He said the Attorney-General’s Chambers had also issued a federal gazette barring people from travelling to another place declared as an infected area.
The federal gazette, known as the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the Local Infected Areas) Regulations 2020, states that individuals who violate the regulations shall be liable to a maximum fine of RM1,000 or jailed for up to six months, or both, Muzaffar pointed out.
“Legal action can also be taken under various existing laws in the country like under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, Sedition Act 1948, Penal Code, and others.
“Full support and cooperation among everyone in society is needed if we want to put an end to the threat of this virus,” he said.