PUTRAJAYA, May 5 — Datuk Nurulhidayah Ahmad Zahid and her husband, Datuk Saiful Nizam Mohd Yusoff, both received a fine today after admitting to breaching the movement control order (MCO) before the Magistrates Court here.
They entered their guilty pleas after the charge proffered under Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the Infected Local Areas) was read out to them in a closed court.
Magistrate Shah Wira Abdul Halim then fined them RM800 each for the offence that is punishable by a fine of up to RM1,000, no more than six months’ imprisonment, or both upon conviction.
According to the charge sheet, Nurulhidayah and her husband committed the offence after travelling from Jalan Batu Nyaman Country Heights in Kajang, Selangor, to the Environmental Department office located in Putrajaya on April 20.
The offence, under Regulation 3(1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act, was committed after both of them had travelled out of an infected area into another.
To note, both the Kajang mukim and the Putrajaya district were classified as red zones in terms of cumulative cases during the time the offence was committed. In terms of active Covid-19 cases or cases still under treatment, both Kajang and Putrajaya were orange zones at that time, based on the Health Ministry’s federal-level and state-level maps.
It is understood that Deputy Public Prosecutors Nur Ashikin Mokhtar and Zulaaikha Mohd Apandi had pushed for the judge to mete out the maximum permitted fine of RM1,000.
The prosecutors justified this by saying that the offence was committed during the third phase of the MCO.
During litigation, Nurulhidayah’s lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal then submitted that his client had received an official invite from the deputy environment minister’s office to meet and discuss matters concerning the commemoration of Earth Day.
Nur Ashikin, however, argued that the deputy minister’s letter of the invitation could not be deemed as an excuse or exception for Nurulhidayah and her husband to breach the MCO.
Ahmad Zaidi is said to have then pleaded with the judge for a bond to serve as a warning to his clients before the Magistrate decided on the fine, which was then issued in default of three months imprisonment.
Journalists present at the court complex here today were barred from covering the proceedings for reasons that still remain unclear.
Reporters had initially been allowed into the courtroom but were later escorted out to allow remand proceedings to take place
They were barred when they tried to re-enter later.
Nurulhidayah is the daughter of Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.