KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 — The government’s proposal to raise the maximum fines for recovery movement control order (RMCO) violations will lack moral justification unless this is first imposed on a quarantine-breaking minister, said Teresa Kok.
In a special address yesterday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the maximum allowable compound under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 may be raised “at least two or three times” from the current RM1,000.
Kok also criticised the proposal to raise the penalty amid an environment of allegedly selective enforcement, saying it suggested a disconnect between the government and Malaysians’ sentiments.
“If he (Muhyiddin) still insists on increasing the fines imposed, then he should first make sure Minister Khairuddin, who has breached the quarantine rules, be penalised by two to three times higher than the current fine imposed upon him,” Kok said in a statement today, referring to Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Khairuddin Aman Razali.
The former minister said her successor’s infraction was far more severe than failing to wear a face mask when required or not maintaining a safe physical distance, both of which already result in the maximum compound allowable now.
Khairuddin was previously fined RM1,000 for failing to perform the mandatory 14-day quarantine after returning from a quasi-official trip to Turkey, which Kok revealed in Parliament previously.
A doubling or tripling of his fine could disqualify him as a lawmaker, provided the penalty is imposed by a court of law.
The minister’s failure to perform the mandatory quarantine has been juxtaposed with similar breaches by other Malaysian returnees that resulted in prison terms and fines large enough to cost him his position as an elected representative.
Yesterday, he insisted that he was not in the wrong and described his failure to observe the mandatory quarantine as a procedural error.