Covid-19: Putrajaya cops maintain face masks a must in filming SOP; to summon all 50 celebrity judges in Astro reality show

Putrajaya district police chief ACP Mohd Fadzil Ali today noted that a video of the June 6, 9pm airing of Astro Production’s entertainment programme to find new talents, ‘All Together Now Malaysia (ATNM)’, had gone viral on social media since the past few days. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Putrajaya district police chief ACP Mohd Fadzil Ali today noted that a video of the June 6, 9pm airing of Astro Production’s entertainment programme to find new talents, ‘All Together Now Malaysia (ATNM)’, had gone viral on social media since the past few days. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 — The police today said it will call in all 50 celebrity judges of an Astro reality television show to assist in investigations on alleged breaches of standard operating procedures during the recovery movement control order (RMCO) through the failure to wear face masks.

Putrajaya district police chief ACP Mohd Fadzil Ali today noted that a video of the June 6, 9pm airing of Astro Production’s entertainment programme to find new talents, All Together Now Malaysia (ATNM), had gone viral on social media since the past few days. 

He noted that the video of the programme had attracted public attention after 50 local celebrities who played the role of judges in the programme were recorded in a location without wearing face masks.

“On June 8, 2021, 5.55pm, the police had received a police report from a man who was not satisfied and had claimed that programme to have breached the movement control order (MCO) standard operating procedures (SOP) that are currently in force.

“The police’s preliminary actions reveal that the filming of ATNM was carried out at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) on March 3, 2021 until April 11, 2021 with reference to the Creative Industry Sector — Live Event (RMCO) SOP that was in force at that time.

“The programme producers were required to comply with RMCO SOP which allowed recording to be carried out with attendance of audience not exceeding 50 per cent of the capacity and to comply with SOP related to health screenings, wearing of face masks and physical distancing,” he said in a statement today.

Yesterday, Mohd Fadzil confirmed to Malay Mail that investigations had already been initiated over the alleged SOP breaches in this case.

Today, he provided details of the investigations, stating that it is being carried out under Regulation 18 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) (Recovery Movement Control) (No. 3) Regulations 2021 [P.U. (A) 98/2021] “for not complying with RMCO SOP by not wearing face masks in a public place”.

A check by Malay Mail of the regulations cited by Mohd Fadzil and which was gazetted by the government on March 4, 2021 shows that Regulation 18 states among other things that the breach of the regulations or the Health director-general’s directions is an offence punishable by a fine not exceeding RM1,000 or jail not exceeding six months or both.

The investigation is also being carried out under Section 269 of the Penal Code which covers the offence of “negligent act likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to life”, he said.

Under Section 269, it is an offence for anyone who unlawfully or negligently does any act which is — and which he knows or has reason to believe to be — likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life. It is punishable with a jail term of up to six months or fine or both.

“Those who are involved including the 50 celebrity judges will be called to the Putrajaya district police headquarters (IPD) for further investigations and investigation papers will be referred to the deputy public prosecutor’s chambers once investigations are completed,” he said.

“Therefore, the police advises the public to continue complying with the movement control order (mco) and the standard operating procedures (SOP) that were issued by the authorities in the efforts to curb and break the chain of infections of Covid-19 and to not sensationalise the facts or issues related to this case,” he added in his statement.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was reported on June 9 by Malaysiakini as saying that the National Security Council is probing claims of SOP breaches during the filming of the TV show, with the minister also stating that action will be taken against anyone who violates SOPs even if it is his son.

Reports said that Ismail Sabri’s son Gaddafi Ismail Sabri or Dafi as he is known was among the 50 celebrities on the judging panel in the programme.

Dafi on June 9 was reported by local Malay website mStar as agreeing that there is no need for him to receive special treatment as a minister’s son.

The show aired for the first time last Sunday, but Astro has since suspended its broadcast.

Berita Harian reported on June 8 Astro vice-president of Malay entertainment content development strategy Raqim Ahmad as saying that the show was recorded in March before MCO 3.0 was enforced.

Raqim was reported saying that all those involved in the production had been screened for Covid-19 and only those who tested negative were allowed in the filming, and that authorities were present to monitor the filming.

He added that the tiered set where the celebrities were seated was constructed according to the physical distancing specifications of 1.6 metres and with transparent barriers separating each judge.

The pre-recorded reality show, which was initially scheduled to be broadcasted on Astro Ria at 9pm every Sunday through 10 episodes, is reportedly the first in South-east Asia to adapt UK broadcaster BBC One’s reality show All Together Now.

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