Current Affairs

We need a Covid-19 law enforcement & complaints committee

The government’s intentions behind the implementation of various measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 are commendable. These include imposing hefty fines on the public, most notably the blanket RM1,000 compound fine for those who don’t wear a face mask properly in public.

However, some of these measures are prone to abuses of power by enforcement officers.


Open to abuses of power and corruption

A student broke down in tears after being fined for not wearing mask properly

In a statement by Member of Parliament for Seputeh, Teresa Kok last Saturday (15 August 2020), she revealed that she has received many complaints that some enforcement officers are intentionally making life difficult for business owners. Worse, there are even allegations of corruption.

Furthermore, the viral TV3 news clip of a youth breaking down publicly really puts the enforcement into perspective. The student was fined RM1,000 for just pulling down his face mask past his nose for a few seconds.

This is really appalling.


A special complaints committee for the public is needed

For illustrative purposes | Source: Forbes

Therefore, Teresa Kok urges the government to establish a Covid-19 law enforcement complaints and appeals committee or an Ombudsman for the public.

This is so that they can lodge complaints on over-policing and abuse of power by enforcement officers, especially in their enforcement actions in dealing with curbing the spread of Covid-19.

As such will alleviate public concern that they have nowhere to turn to in order to lodge complaints or to seek appeals against disproportionate fines. Moreover, this move will also protect the image and the integrity of law enforcement agencies.  


The blanket RM1,000 ban should be reduced

Wong Shu Qi (middle left) and Dr Kelvin Yii (middle right) in Parliament on 13 Aug

On August 13, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii and Kluang MP Wong Shu Qi in a press statement in Parliament urged for the reduction of the compounds for non-compliance of face masks in crowded public areas.

It was suggested that the compound should be introduced in stages, with RM250 for a first-time offender. This is because the current blanket RM 1000 compound fine is unconscionable and disproportionate for all transgressions, no matter how trivial.

The pandemic has already caused enough suffering on the rakyat and it is timely for a special committee to review the harsh penalties being imposed to be set up.

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