KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 2 — The new maximum fine of RM10,000 under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) will not be applied automatically to all violating the National Security Council’s (NSC) regulations, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob explained today.
The senior defence minister acknowledged public concerns about the fine that was raised using an Emergency Ordinance, but assured Malaysians that this would not be applied for first-time infractions.
He also said fines will be levied based on the severity of the offence, and that compound notices could still be appealed at the district health offices nationwide.
“The law does not have a minimum limit, only a maximum. This means that not every offence can land you a RM10,000 fine because each case can be appealed.
“In Act 342, appeals can be made to the health director-general. I believe he has allocated this power to the district heads for them to decide on these appeals,” he said.
He added that Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador has explained that only serious and habitual offenders will receive the maximum fine.
“For example, from the very beginning the NSC has not allowed nightclubs to operate — but today I just heard 100 individuals were given compounds for nightclub activities.
“The reason why nightclubs are still open is because there are people who still want to go to them — and every day, there are arrests. These are the people that are most likely to receive a maximum fine,” he said.
He added that the maximum fine will also be given to those who break quarantine as they pose among the biggest risks to spreading the Covid-19 virus to others.
“This is a serious offence which can lead to the death of another. So this is another example of those individuals who will receive the maximum fine,” he said.
Ismail also urged Malaysians to trust in the police force to issue compounds fairly, based on the severity of the breach and the decorum of the police.
“We cannot think that just because the fine is RM10,000 maximum, that the police will fine Malaysians that much. The police chief has even said that RM10,000 compounds will not be issued for small breaches like not wearing masks or no social distancing.
“The police know how to handle each situation uniquely and administer proper measures accordingly. Please do not think that the police are evil and will only dish out the maximum fines towards everyone for even the smallest breach.
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