KUALA LUMPUR, April 15 — The government has decided to turn 13 prison academies into detention centres for people who violate the Movement Control Order (MCO).
Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said this decision was made to prevent overcrowding in prisons that could lead to Covid-19 outbreaks.
“Even though these are prison academic centres, the rules and regulations are the same like in normal jails,” Ismail Sabri told a press conference today.
“It doesn’t mean that there is luxury food in these centres. It follows the regular prison SOP (standard operating procedure).”
He said the compliance rate with the nationwide partial lockdown, as Malaysia enters the third phase of the MCO, was still 97 per cent.
The police arrested 612 people yesterday for violating the MCO, including 590 who were remanded and 15 freed on bail. A total of 337 individuals were charged in court with violating the MCO.
Those who do not comply with the MCO are subject to an RM1,000 fine, or imprisonment up to six months, or both.
Ismail Sabri said yesterday that the police would no longer focus on fining people for violating the MCO, but would prosecute offenders instead, amid a rising number of offenders.
He also said today that the government was still looking at how online Ramadan bazaars could operate during the nationwide partial lockdown, noting that picking items up at stalls or drive-throughs could result in uncontrollable mass movements during the coronavirus epidemic.
According to the minister, the government so far has only agreed to allow online orders with food deliveries, while other suggestions would be further studied.
“On the question of certain states making their own decisions, I believe we have certain SOP. So we’ll coordinate with the states. When talking about e-bazaars, we also ask for KPKT (Housing and Local Government Ministry) to look at this matter.
“Although local and city councils may have their own powers, we ask for coordination so that there is no difference between the states and decisions made by the National Security Council (MKN) at the federal level.”