Sunday, March 29, 2020

Covid-19 - Stop arresting, detaining and charging people during Movement Restriction Order? Do investigation and prosecution later?

COVID-19, Malaysia is currently under a Movement Control Orders until mid-April, and people are required to also practice social distancing, and not gather around.

When persons are arrested and detained, it puts so many more people at RISK - this not only includes the police officers, other detainees/people at police stations, LAWYERS who have to come out to represent their clients, Magistrates who have to come to conduct remand proceedings(which has to be done within 24 hours of arrest) and so too must the lawyers(which in this case may also be Legal Aid lawyers).

Likewise, if a person is then charged in court - again police are affected(they necessarily will have to be less than 1 meter away from the detainee), other detainees for many a time all these suspects/accused are brought to court together and in 'close proximity', then there will be the Judges, the court staff, LAWYERS, etc. Now, if a lawyer has to rush to represent a client, other staff in the law firm(including other lawyers) may have to come back to work or 'violate' the Movement Control Order.

PROPOSALS - They will be arrested, and immediately released. Police will just get their details - name, address and other contact details, and maybe even their photographs. VDOs too of the violations will be helpful evidence for prosecution later on. After the end of the Movement Control Orders, they will all be investigated, prosecuted and charged in court.

They will be all inveestigated and prosecuted, not under any other laws, but the Movement Control Order under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.

The penalty that is provided for in this law is a FINE not exceeding RM1,000 OR imprisonment OR BOTH

Section 34 - General Penalty
Any person guilty of an offence under this Act for which no specific penalty is provided shall be liable on conviction-
(a) in respect of a first offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to fine or to both;
(b) in respect of a second or subsequent offence, to imprisonment not exceeding five years or to fine or to both;
(c) in respect of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding two hundred ringgit for every day during which such offence continues.

For many, a FINE may not be a sufficient deterrent, so maybe the Attorney General and/or the government should be saying now, that they will be pushing for a prison sentence, over and above the FINE. 

Even for companies that violate the current restrictions in place, use this Act - and make sure that all Directors, relevant officers are also prosecuted and the government will be seeking for prison terms. What is a FINE for most companies, when they take this monies from the coffers of the company - and those who made the decision to violate the Movement Control Order simply lose nothing - they do not have to pay fines using their OWN money...or they do not have to end up in jail. Note must be taken of the Regulation now in force during this Covid-19 period...which also says that in section 7(2) of PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES (MEASURES WITHIN THE INFECTED LOCAL AREAS) REGULATIONS 2020 (In Force from 18/3/2020)PU(A) 91/2020

(2) If an offence is committed by a body corporate, any person who, at the time of the commission of the offence was a director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate or was purporting to act in any such capacity or was in any manner or to any extent responsible for the management of any of the affairs of the body corporate or was assisting in such management—
(a) may be charged severally or jointly in the same proceedings with the body corporate; and
(b) where the body corporate is found guilty of the offence, shall be deemed to be guilty of that offence unless, having regard to the nature of his functions in that capacity and to all circumstances, he proves—
(i) that the offence was committed without his knowledge, consent or connivance; and
(ii) that he took all reasonable precautions and had exercised due diligence to prevent the commission of the offence.
We have heard of companies violating the Movement Control Orders, and continuing operations, so why have there been no report of any of  ' director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate' being charged and convicted in their personal capacity - by sending them to jail, even for a week or months. If this starts to happen, then, of course these companies and corporation will follow the LAW. If all Directors end up in jail for 3 months, don't you think that these corporations will stop breaking the law?

COVID-19 crisis - the major problem is that it is easily transmittable between people, and worse it causes DEATH.

Problem now in Malaysia, and most other countries, is the CAPACITY to deal with this disease. We are not just talking about medical personnel, hospitals, ICU facilities, ventilators, etc - but even the TESTING capacity ...Malaysia could only conduct 3,500 tests per about 6,000 tests and by next week it will increase to maybe 15,000 - the problem is that there are thousands of people that may have to be tested...

The Tabligh event itself caused hundreds to be infected ...and they have still not yet identied and tested all that attended that Tabligh event. 

The problem is then the people who attend the tabligh event came from all over Malaysia - and when they went back, they infected many others. The DG of health tells us that we are now at the 5th generation of infections. So person infected at the tabligh event, may have infected another in his hometown, who infected another, who infected another, who infected another ...THIS is a very dangerous disease. That is how the disease has spread so fast to even rural Malaysia...

Hence, law enforcement also need to consider enforcing, arresting and identifying NOW - BUT investigating, prosecuting and charging in court to be delayed until this Covid-19 is behind us...

Now, when mosques and surau violate the movement control order, they may also be violating State laws as well as the orders of the King, Sultan and rulers..

Now, Ministers and politicians should also stop moving around unnecessarily during this period, for when they do many others also have to follow...Why is the Minister of Health visiting hospitals now? For political gain? Use online media to communicate with officers of your Ministries ...??

Ismail Sabri: Five mosques not adhering to MCO, still having Friday prayers

A worker sprays disinfectant in a mosque to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in Kuala Lumpur March 23, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
A worker sprays disinfectant in a mosque to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in Kuala Lumpur March 23, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — There are still several mosques around the country that are disobeying the movement control order (MCO) by having their Friday prayers and sermons, said Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri today.

Speaking to a press conference after chairing the special task force meeting, the senior minister of defence said this is going on despite the authorities’ best efforts and the order from the government not to have large gatherings at places of worship.

“I’ve been made to understand that there are still five mosques continuing to have their Solat Jumaat despite the orders not to open and to pray at home.

“Yesterday in one of the districts a mosque had their Solat Jumaat and as a result, 116 people who attended the prayers have been arrested by the police,” said Ismail.

Yesterday, Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, said the police detained 116 foreigners at a factory in Muar as they were reportedly preparing to perform their Friday prayers, despite the MCO being enforced.

He said those arrested consisted of Pakistani, Bangladeshis and Indonesian nationals.

Sabri, when asked to elaborate on which mosques were not adhering to the MCO, said he wished not to reveal those names but assured the public that authorities are taking action to prevent another Solat Jumaat from happening during this period. - Malay Mail, 28/3/2020

320 arrested for defying MCO yesterday

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Defence Minister Ismail Sabri says Friday prayers were held in a few mosques despite the movement control order.
PETALING JAYA: Police arrested 320 people for defying the movement control order (MCO) yesterday.

On Thursday, 162 arrests were made, Defence Minister Ismail Sabri said in a special telecast on TV today.

“We believe the arrests by police have improved the compliance rate which now stands at 97%.

“Still, many are not abiding by the MCO. In one district, Friday prayers were still going on despite instructions against it.

“As a result, 116 people were arrested. We know there are five more mosques still having mass prayers.”

Ismail said people staying in gated communities must also follow the MCO.

“We have seen people still jogging in such places and have taken action. MCO applies to all.

“In some places in the Klang Valley, traffic jams have been reported. This shows many are not observing the MCO.”

Police have also closed “rat trails” through which foreigners are entering or leaving the country.

Ismail also cautioned the people against falling for scams, noting that victims had been told to provide their MyKad number and bank account details to withdraw funds from their Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) accounts.

So far, he said, police have opened 393 investigation papers on scams involving RM3 million.

“Be careful of scammers. Follow EPF’s instructions on the procedures for withdrawing EPF funds.”

Many have also fallen victim to online scams offering to sell face masks, which are now in short supply. - Malay Mail, 28/3/2020

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