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MP SPEAKS | Some Covid SOP fines may be void

Ngeh Koo Ham

Published
Modified 20 Mar 2021, 1:26 am

MP SPEAKS | The formation of standard operating procedure (SOPs) implementation teams and the order to the health authorities and the police to issue compounds as a last resort after advice and instructions are ignored are most welcomed and supported.

I urge them to be incorporated into the SOP by-laws. Government has still to deal with the issue of the legality of the compounds issued so far and those that will be issued in future.

I welcome the announcement by the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of law, Takiyuddin Hassan, on March 17 that SOP implementation teams will be formed and that health authorities and the police will be instructed to issue compounds as a last resort after advice and instructions are ignored.

This is the most important part of the minister’s announcement and not the tier-system and discounts on compounds which were also announced. Almost all Malaysians would comply with the SOPs if warned and reminded by the police to do so and therefore, no necessity for the issuance of the compounds.

It has been my proposal that the compound is issued only after a warning has been given and ignored since my first media statement issued on Jan 30, 2021, over the compounds issued by the police.

I call on the minister to incorporate this most important part of his announcement into the SOP regulations that will be gazetted. Unless it is gazetted, it will be a meaningless promise like what the inspector-general of police did concerning the RM10,000 compound.

Initially, he said the RM10,000 compound applies only to repeat offenders and those found spreading Covid-19 but later turn around to say the compound of RM10,000 will apply to all cases.

Not authorised

The de facto law minister, however, has failed to address the most important issue that I have previously raised, that the compounds issued by the police, the  International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) officers or officers from other ministries apart from the Health Ministry are void on the following grounds:

(i) Under Act 342 only the director-general of Health and his health officers authorised by him [following the Ejusdem generis (same kind) rule of interpretation] are authorised to issue the compound. 

For examples, under the Fishery Act, only the fishery officers are authorised to deal with fishery cases and the issuing of local government parking compounds are issued by local government officials. The police are not authorised to do so. The police are called in to assist such other ministries only to help maintain law and order.

(ii) Section 25 of Act 342 as amended by the Emergency (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases) (Amendment) 2021 clearly stated that a compound can only be issued with the consent in writing of the public prosecutor. I understand that the compounds issued so far are done without the consent of the public prosecutor.

Therefore, I call on the de facto law minister to declare all summons issued not by the Health Ministry officials and/or without the consent of the public prosecutor as void and are to be withdrawn.


NGEH KOO HAM is Beruas MP.

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