KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — The Movement Control Order (MCO) standard operating procedures (SOP) issued by the National Security Council (MKN) are not static, instead, they are dynamic, and the decision to whether or not to impose the lockdown is made according to the current COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said he was aware of the grievances of the people upon seeing the changes in the SOP, but it was indeed due to changes in the situation of COVID-19 itself.
“They are not static (in regard to the MCO SOP). They are dynamic. They follow the situation that requires us to make adjustments to deal with different situations. For example, (previously) restaurants were allowed to have dine-in customers. Then they were disallowed (from doing so).
“I’m sorry if there are those who feel confused. The National Security Council (MKN) determines the SOP. They are not being decided by any one person. They are decided via discussion. The MKN did not decide on the SOP arbitrarily,” he said in a “Special Discussion on the Challenges of COVID-19 with the Prime Minister” broadcast over RTM and Bernama TV tonight.
The Prime Minister also stressed that the implementation of the SOP was decided in a meeting which was also attended by the Attorney-General with Senior Minister (Security Cluster), Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, to study the SOP, which will then be gazetted before being enforced and announced, so that all parties will be made aware.
“If you don’t understand, you can ask. We have asked the ministers to give an explanation as well as the officials to provide an explanation. Community leaders handling empowerment programmes have also been provided with the information so that they can help explain the situation and circumstances,” he said.
Muhyiddin also explained that the state governments did not have the power to request to change the SOP as the power rested with the federal government, under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) under the Ministry of Health; and the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446) under the Ministry of Human Resources.
On non-compliance with the SOP, the Prime Minister said that every action taken must be based on the law, if what happened was the opposite, a person subject to SOP action could challenge it.
“If someone commits an offence, we (the government) want to take action for the individual to be punished. Like the current cases. It could be a celebrity, could be anyone. I do not want to mention the name, the action must be based on the law.https://www.youtube.com/embed/PXPatmst-Os?rel=0&showinfo=0
“The power to arrest or impose a compound of RM10,000? That is why the SOP are based on the law and gazetted. If they are not gazetted, they are not valid. This is something that not many people are aware of. That is why if the government decides to formulate the SOP, as long as they are not gazetted they cannot be enforced,” he said.
“The government does not care who (the individuals are), from ministers to the prime minister, who violate (the SOP). If there is clear evidence based on the law, they will not escape punishment, compound, charge (prosecution) and so on,” he said.
However, he said that in Malaysia, with a population of 30 million, the authorities would be unable to monitor everyone, and some would be seen as escaping punishment.
Therefore, the Prime Minister urged the people to refrain from violating the SOP because the SOP were not made to restrict people’s freedom, including human rights.
He also urged the people to cooperate by complying with the SOP in order to ensure the well-being of everyone.