Netizens rally behind youth fined over mask rule, question uneven enforcement

Netizens rally behind youth fined over mask rule, question uneven enforcement
Netizens rally behind youth fined over mask rule, question uneven enforcement

Netizens have rallied behind a teenager who was fined RM1,000 for purportedly pulling down his face mask while waiting on a platform for a train.

People have questioned the seemingly uneven enforcement of the compulsory face mask rule, with regard to a number of politicians who have been photographed without masks in public places.

The incident of the teenager being compounded was shown in a TV3 video, which has since gone viral on social media.

“Police, are you serious? Are you not sympathetic towards this boy? He is still studying, whereas you do not fine ministers who do not wear masks or social distance, as shown on TV3.

“Does the minister title give them a free ticket out of a summons?” questioned a Twitter user known as "AFK", in response to the video.

Another netizen replied to the video with several pictures of International Trade and Industries Minister Azmin Ali attending public events without wearing a face mask.

The Twitter user with the handle "Nontoxic" urged the police to take action against the minister in the pictures.

“Do not act like you did not see it, there are pictures and dates as well,” the user said.

Others on social media pointed out that Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob had previously said wearing face masks is only compulsory at “crowded public places”.

However, he said although the wearing of face masks in wide spaces is not compulsory, it is encouraged.

In TV3’s interview, the teenager, who was seen crying after being handed the compound, said he had pulled down his face mask temporarily as it was itchy.

In the same video, a police officer said many often give the excuse that they had only taken off their face mask for a short while, but he stressed that the ruling is for the face mask to be worn at all times in crowded public places.

Malaysiakini has attempted to contact Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador on this matter.

There has been confusion over what constitutes “crowded public places” since the ruling came into force on Aug 1.

On Aug 5, the National Security Council released a full list of places and occasions where members of the public have to wear face masks.

There was also an uproar among netizens during the initial stages of the movement control order which began in March, where there were claims that authorities were slow to act against politicians and VIPs who were seen breaching standard operating procedures in pictures.

Several of those politicians were later compounded, but netizens again questioned why there was a delay when the public was often fined on the spot or even hauled to jail.