KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 (Bernama) -- In the effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many in the legal fraternity are contending that the police should issue summonses on civilians who failed to obey directives under the Movement Control Order.
Criminal lawyer Datuk N. Sivananthan said as a deterrence, summonses should issued for the individual to appear in court, adding that the offence is bailable.
"However if the individual does not turn up in court, a warrant of arrest can be issued. If he or she does turn up, the court has to give him or her bail but perhaps impose an additional condition that the accused cannot leave his or her house without the permission of police.
"One way to ensure quick enforcement is to have the individual summoned appear in court the very next day so they will no longer be a nuisance," he said.
Sivananthan said this when asked to comment on the behaviour of civilians who are still defying and not taking the movement control order seriously.
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According to media reports, civilians who were stopped at roadblocks, said that they were just having an outing, there are also some who said that they wanted to buy food, deliver items and many other absurd reasons.
Sharing the same sentiment, lawyer RSN Rayer said under the present circumstances, since the situation is critical, the police may even arrest them and charge them for treason.
"Because they are disobeying a direct order of the King who has also directed all citizens to follow the government's and prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's advice to stay at home.
"I would say, if people are still not taking the matter seriously, the possibility of the order period being extended is very high," said the Jelutong MP.
Rayer also suggested for the government to mobilise military troops to control the situation, if needed.
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"But having the authorities alone is not important. What's more important is for all of us to conduct self-control and obey any instruction or order issued by the government," he said.
Meanwhile, lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah stressed that, if the police is dissatisfied with the reasons given, then they could make arrests.
"Actually, offenders can be arrested without warrant on the spot if the police are not satisfied with the reasons given by a person," said the veteran lawyer.
According to Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the local Infected Areas) Regulations 2020), any person who breaches the prevention and control of infectious diseases regulations shall be liable to a maximum fine of RM1,000 or jailed for up to six months or both.
The order, which is in force for 14 days from yesterday, among others, involves the closure of all government and private premises except for those providing essential services and all houses of worship and business premises except for supermarkets, wet markets, grocery shops and convenience stores selling daily necessities.
The government has also called on the public to stay at home and avoid going out during the order period to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
As of now, 110 new positive cases were confirmed in Malaysia today with the tally now at 900 cases.
TAG: lawyers, order, summons, court, offence