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YOURSAY | ‘The greatest enemy in this war against Covid-19 is not the virus but ourselves.’

Cardiologist runs into trouble - charged for jogging during MCO

Vijay47: I may seem heartless but cardiologist Dr Ong Hean Teik deserves to be charged on two accounts – for being outdoors without any valid reason and secondly, for not complying with an order from an authorised officer.

The defence of being alone and therefore, in accordance with the social distancing standard does not hold water, warm or otherwise.

You are not allowed to be outside your home except for certain reasons, that’s it, no talk no argument.

Further, where you are outside for an acceptable reason, you are nevertheless required to maintain social distancing - two different requirements, two different circumstances. Ong has rightly been charged.

That said, I am amazed at the conditions heaped on him. He has to surrender his passport, he has to report to the police station every month.

We all agree that the corona storm is serious but for heaven’s sake, he is not a terrorist or a bank robber - he was convinced, wrongly, that being on his own he could do his exercises outside his home.

A total of 649 persons have been arrested, presumably for breaking the movement control order (MCO) law, and I would expect that they were not immediately charged. In that case, were they asked to surrender their passports and report to the police every month?

The doctor was merely going for a jog, he was not running from the law.

MS: A cardiologist who misreads the intent of the MCO, running to keep his heart pumping and then wham - this RM13,000 heart-stopping bail with the possibility of other penalties down the line.

It looks to me like a bit of overreaching after the initial reluctant to immediately cease all religious gatherings on Fridays.

And the MCO-instigated chaos which resulted in thousands thronging transport terminals and police stations to break all social distancing rules only points to the confusion and misinterpretations sweeping through all enforcement agencies in the early days of the MCO rollout.

So, couldn't the court have exercised its discretion and issued a stiff verbal warning and perhaps ordered a couple of days of pro bono medical duty in any neighbouring hospital?

The man has some medical expertise, and he could have been made to do "national service" like some of our ministers.

Libra: Oh my god. It seems the person was charged out of anger. Seriously, what crime? He did not comply with the order. It was not a strict order to stay at home. People were allowed to go out, isn't it? Moreover, he was on his own.

All that was necessary was to give a stern warning. It was a first-time offence, wasn’t it?

Sniper: The police officers were very polite. The matter could have been resolved by Ong apologising and returning home. Dear doctor, nobody likes this MCO but you can still exercise at home. You won’t find sympathies here.

Anonymous_1e23ccf0: I think we are getting it wrong here. He was running by himself and in an open area. What was the risk other than infringing the MCO?

Staying at home and social distancing is really about keeping that distance from neighbours and strangers.

It is not a complete lockdown. It is perfectly okay to jog or walk in a relatively open area as long as you watch your distance from others and maybe wear a face mask. That is how it is practised in most countries.

Anonymous_7531583036317406: Yes, and this is exactly the problem with the MCO. There are too many grey areas to the point that authorities are taking action as they see fit.

Does MCO, when it was first announced, prevent jogging? No. As long you keep a distance of two metres away from the next person that’s fine.

GooseNBanter: Ong jogging at the empty park wasn’t the danger. What is dangerous is that it is wrongly sending out a message to others that it’s fine to come out and jog in the park.

In a week’s time, perhaps there would be another hundred Ongs seeing that jogging in the park is fine - the ones who believe that the health benefits of jogging outweigh the risk of contracting Covid-19.

And all it takes is for one asymptomatic person at the park to cough, sneeze, use the restroom, or touch common surfaces at the park and Penang is the next epicentre in Malaysia.

Ong should forget good lawyers and just comply for now. Perhaps he should shop online for a treadmill.

Commenter: Yes, a sick person may be doing exercise outdoors and coughing and sneezing everywhere.

He could be blowing his nose on the grass, throwing tissue paper with his snot into a dustbin, touching the handrails, walkways, et cetera. Strong wind might even cause the virus to be airborne.

Why take the risk? Help the frontline nurses and doctors. Staying at home is much better than staying in an intensive care unit.

Cyclonus: Shame on those flouting the MCO and especially this man from the medical profession.

He may be thinking that being alone in the park he's not spreading anything or getting infected by anyone, but Malaysians are so hardwired to herd mentality that if we see one person do something forbidden without repercussion then it's okay to do it too.

Next thing you know, we'll have the whole community going jogging, biking, hanging out at the mamak shop, go for Friday prayers, et cetera, which defeats the outbreak control measures.

The greatest enemy in this war against Covid-19 is not the virus but ourselves.

CYT: The MCO was not implemented evenly in the country. On its first two days, March 18 and 19, we in Petaling Jaya were allowed into Gasing Hill Park (Hutan Pendidikan Bukit Gasing) to jog or hike as long as you don’t form groups.

The notice was put up at the main entrance with emphasis “Jangan berkumpulan atau berhimpunan”. But a few days later, the park was sealed together with all parks in Petaling Jaya.

Does it mean Ong was unlucky to jog in the wrong park?


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