Man in Penang under police probe for claiming MCO enforcement failure, bias

Northeast District Police Chief ACP Soffian Santong monitoring the area around the Air Itam market, 30 March, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Northeast District Police Chief ACP Soffian Santong monitoring the area around the Air Itam market, 30 March, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, March 30 — The police are investigating a man over a social media post accusing authorities of failing to implement the movement control order (MCO) at a market here.

Northeast District Police chief Assistant Commissioner Soffian Santong confirmed receiving the police report yesterday about the allegations posted on Facebook.

“We will investigate the case under Section 505 of the Penal Code,” he said.

The law covers the offence of making statements or publishing of rumours likely to cause fear or alarm, and is punishable by a jail sentence of up to two years, a fine, or both.

Air Itam assemblyman Joseph Ng said he lodged the police report as the social media post allegedly contained baseless accusations against the authorities.

“In the post, he had accused the authorities of failing to conduct their duty to ensure social distancing in the Air Itam market and he had accused the authorities of playing favouritism,” he said.

Ng said the authorities have been working hard to control the crowd in the market since the MCO was implemented.

“It is not fair to the authorities to be accused of not doing their duty when they had implemented so many measures to ensure social distancing,” he said.

The market came under attention after social media posts were made to show the remaining crowds despite the MCO.

The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and the police have since imposed stricter measures such as placing markers a metre apart to guide visitors on social distancing rules and restricting the number of patrons within at any one time.

Today, the road to the market was also closed to traffic, cutting down the number of people going to the market by 70 per cent.

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