Thursday, October 1

MCO: No mass detention of offenders in lock-ups – Ismail Sabri

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According to procedure, those arrested at roadblocks would be taken to the police station, where they would be slapped with compounds or released on police bail while waiting for their investigation papers to be sent to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for further action. – File photo

PUTRAJAYA: Those arrested for breaching the Movement Control Order (MCO) will not be crammed into lock-ups, said Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said that according to procedure, those arrested at roadblocks would be taken to the police station, where they would be slapped with compounds or released on police bail while waiting for their investigation papers to be sent to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for further action.

“Our standard operating procedure also requires social distancing of one metre, so it is not logical for us to cram them into lock-ups.

“They will be allowed to go home and be charged in court (later) or straight away compounded at the police station,” he added.

He said this at a press conference after attending a special meeting on Covid-19 with Menteri Besar and Chief Ministers, which was chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin here today.

Ismail Sabri, who is also Defence Minister, said the level of MCO compliance had increased, as shown by the number of arrests daily which dropped to 742 from 828.

“I hope this trend continues. It shows that the people are increasingly aware of the need to abide by every  order issued by the government,” he said, adding that 383,488 vehicles had been checked at 1,547 roadblocks mounted so far.

As of today, 165 people have been charged with violating the MCO, he said.

“In Sarawak, the jail term imposed on offenders is between one month and four months. So, I hope the people would see that this order is something serious,” he added.

Ismail Sabri said the people’s behaviour would determine whether the MCO would be extended into phase three, the fasting month or even Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

“If we continue to abide by the government directives and SOP, I believe we can prevent the fear of MCO extension (from becoming a reality),” he said.

Asked on complaints that some with letters from employers requiring them to go to work had been held at roadblocks, he said this could be because they were in sectors not classified as essential by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).

“Maybe there are factories in operation now and they issued these letters but police found that they differed from the MITI list,” he said.

Asked whether the government would adopt the Terengganu police method of allowing vehicles on the roads based on their registration numbers, he said this would have to be studied first.

“This may be a good model but we have to study it because maybe in Terengganu the number (of vehicles) is quite small compared to other places like Kuala Lumpur.

“Various suggestions have been put forward by society. Some asked us to mark fingers with ink like for voting while others wanted the use of cards and the like. All proposals can be considered and studied in detail,” he added.

Asked on those required to work past 10 pm during the second phase of MCO, Ismail Sabri said the government would gather more information before issuing a new SOP.

Under phase two of the MCO, from April 1 to 14, public transport will be in operation from 6 am to 10 am and 5 pm to 10 pm, while private vehicles including e-hailing cars and taxis will be allowed on the roads from 6 am to 10 pm. – Bernama