KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 — Selangor Police Chief Datuk Arjunaidi Mohamed today sought to clarify the midnight questioning of contract doctors on duty at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) which has been turned into a Covid-19 Integrated Quarantine and Treatment Centre (PKRC).
He denied allegations that the midnight questioning was an infringement of the doctors’ rights and an act of intimidation or harassment for participating in the #HartalDoktorKontrak strike last Monday.
Instead, he said the police were acting on a report that six media personnel had trespassed on the property last Monday, which was the same reason given earlier by the Sepang police chief.
Arjunaidi explained that police recorded statements from 13 doctors on the alleged trespass incident and that it took roughly three hours from midnight.
“And why do we record the doctor’s statement? If we investigate, we have to record the conversation. If the recording of the statement is wrong, then I don’t know how.
“Why record until 3am? These doctors are on duty from 8pm to 8am. If we take the statements in the morning, of course they are tired of working but we are not heartless,” he told an online press conference this afternoon.
Arjuanaidi was responding to claims that the police are continuing investigations despite yesterday’s assurance by Health Minister Datuk Dr Adham Baba that no punitive action will be taken against doctors who took part in the hartal or strike.
Several Opposition MPs raised the issue in Parliament earlier today and demanded an explanation from the government, accusing it of not keeping its promise made in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
In a separate statement earlier today, Sepang district deputy police chief Supt Md Noor Aehwan Mohammad said that police are instead investigating a complaint filed by the MAEPS director, claiming six media personnel entered the quarantine area housing 496 women Covid-19 patients without authorisation while covering the strike on Monday.
Arjunaidi advised caution against manipulating the facts to claim the police are penalising the doctors, adding that the law enforcers had no problem with “freedom of expression”.
Arjunaidi added that the police have identified the six media personnel and will call them as soon as possible to record their statements.
He said the trespass incident is being investigated under Section 448 of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum penalty of three years jail, or with fine up to RM5,000, or both.
Arjunaidi explained that the incident is of concern because MAEPS is designated as a restricted area and those who enter without authorisation may endanger themselves and the public.
“It is very simple, it is true that we always give media freedom to do their work, but we cannot allow the media to commit suicide while at it.
“For example, if we knew there was a fire in the place, we wouldn’t allow people to go into the fire.
“We cannot allow entry into dangerous places to ensure the safety of the people,” he added.