DAP urges Putrajaya to replace RM10,000 penalty for MCO violations with remedial sessions

DAP Secretary General Lim Guan Eng speaks to the media at a press conference in Wisma DAP, George Town March 8, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
DAP Secretary General Lim Guan Eng speaks to the media at a press conference in Wisma DAP, George Town March 8, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — Violators of the movement control order (MCO) should be permitted to attend interviews and advocacy sessions instead of being issued compound notices for RM10,000, Lim Guan Eng said today.

The DAP secretary-general said this reversal would be similar to the decision not to fine motorcyclists with loud exhausts on their vehicles.

Lim pointed out that Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said the Road Transport Department (JPJ) will no longer issue summonses for up to RM2,000 or imprisonment not exceeding six months for motorcyclists with modified loud exhausts.

“Following this U-turn, the more than 10,000 summonses previously issued should also be cancelled in the interests of consistency and fair play.

“This also raises a pertinent question why the government cannot make a similar U-turn on the harsh RM10,000 fines imposed on individuals and RM50,000 fines on companies that breach the MCO restrictions on Covid-19,” he said in a statement.

Lim said the RM10,000 fine was harsher than for motorcyclists with loud exhausts, and ordinary citizens could not afford the fines.

He said most MPs, both Opposition and government backbenchers, oppose the new fines introduced using an Emergency Ordinance.

He said they also sought the restoration of Parliament to discuss such matters and oversight of the government.

Lim said that the public was angered by the double standard as no action was taken against ministers like Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, Tan Sri Annuar Musa and Zuraida Kamarudin for allegedly violating MCO restrictions.

He compared Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Khairuddin Aman Razali who was only fined RM1,000 to a 72-year-old Malay woman who was charged in court, fined RM8,000 and a day’s jail for a similar offence.

He said Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Edmund Santhara was allowed home quarantine upon returning to Malaysia after travelling to see his family in New Zealand, a privilege denied to most citizens.

“Following the refusal of the government to comply with the wishes of the King that the Emergency Proclamation does not suspend Parliament, MPs are unable to voice out the people’s grievances and seek immediate redress.

“In the meantime, DAP has directed that every state set up a legal team to represent in court and assist free of charge those issued the harsh RM10,000 compounds on individuals and RM50,000 for  businesses,” he said.

He pressed Wee to explain why he could not press the Cabinet to make a similar decision to retract on the harsh fines.

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