KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — The government today reversed the RM10,000 compound for violating Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) amid public outrage, recommending instead an RM1,500 fine.
The RM1,500 fine is recommended for not wearing a face mask or practicing physical distancing, or failing to check in manually or with MySejahtera at a premise, though the maximum compound remains at RM10,000.
De facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan and Health Minister Dr Adham Baba, in a joint press conference today, said that those who pay their compound within one week will be entitled to a 50 per cent discount, while those who pay within two weeks will be entitled to a 25 per cent discount.
Takiyuddin also clarified that the RM10,000 compound given to people previously is merely the maximum amount they can be fined, but not the amount that the individual should pay.
“With these new guidelines, hence from today onwards, although the compound was given that day, we don’t count. It’s like they have been compounded on March 17. So they have one week to settle if they want a 50 per cent discount,” Takiyuddin added.
“We give consideration to those with problems for example, among the public that is disabled or the poor for example, beggars and so on. They can’t afford it but have committed an offence. Based on the law, they are offered a compound like I mentioned earlier. If they are unable to pay, they, or a certain company, can make a plea to the Ministry of Health (MOH) through the right channel.”
In Labuan, those who are unable to pay the fine can go to the state health director, deputy director (public health), as well as the state epidemiologist, to make a plea while in other states, including Sabah and Sarawak, people can go to three of these officers as well as to the district health officer.
These MOH officers already have their hands tied handling daily Covid-19 cases and the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme. This additional role will only give them an extra burden in their day-to-day job.
Low-income earners, students, or those with disabilities or chronic diseases who want to plead for a lower fine to these MOH officers will have to bring documents to prove their claims.
According to Takiyuddin, the Cabinet has recommended fines for individuals according to the severity of the offences.
The first category is an offence that causes a huge risk of spreading Covid-19 to the community. For example, a medical practitioner who is aware of a positive Covid-19 case but fails to notify MOH will be given a compound of RM5,000.
The second category is an offence that causes a moderate risk of spreading Covid-19 to the community. An example of this offence is when an individual deliberately enters an area which is under a targeted movement control order (TEMCO). The individual can be slapped with a fine of RM3,000.
The third category is an offence that causes a normal risk of spreading Covid-19 to the community, such as failure to wear a face mask, practice social distancing, or checking-in before entering a premise, in which the individual can be fined RM1,500.
The government, however, still maintains an RM10,000 fine for people who patronise pubs or nightclubs, including restaurants operated by such businesses, that remain prohibited from operating more than a year into the Covid-19 epidemic.
Meanwhile, the government will also deploy a standard operating procedure (SOP) team consisting of police, army officers, RELA, and local councillors to ensure that the public adheres to the SOP.
“They will wear an armband — SOP team. So, when they go out, they will give advice, give orders for social distancing to be maintained. If people refuse, then a compound will be given to them,” Takiyuddin said.