PETALING JAYA，Feb 26: Former prime minister Najib Razak has urged the government to review any plan to fine movement control order (MCO) offenders up to RM10,000.
In a Facebook post, Najib said he supported the idea of heavier punishments, but pointed out that not all breaches of the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) warranted such a severe fine.
For example, he said, those who failed to wear their face masks or left their homes without a valid reason were different from those who disobeyed the mandatory quarantine or travelled interstate without permission.
He said for those who committed less serious offences because of “careless mistakes”, the punishment should focus on “teaching them a lesson” and not “bankrupting the people”.
The Pekan MP suggested for first-time offenders to only receive a fine of RM1,000, saying this could be increased if they insisted on repeating the mistake.
“This method of ‘progressive punishments’ is adopted by several countries and accepted by the people, because no one will sympathise with stubborn offenders who repeatedly violate the SOPs.
“But if they are fined RM10,000 straight away, many will not be satisfied,” he said.
Najib also warned that the public’s anger could increase if the practice of “double standards” continued, where politicians may be given lighter punishments compared with “normal people”.
Yesterday, the new Emergency (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 published in the Federal Gazette website stated that any individual who breaches MCO now faces fines of up to RM10,000.
It also said that companies which violate MCO regulations will be liable to a maximum fine of up to RM50,000.
The new rules come into effect on March 11.