Movement control order violators are defaulters not criminals

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Deserted streets during coronavirus lockdown - Photograph: wjboyz/Flickr

The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) praises the police and the armed forces for their work and assistance in the current pandemic to ensure the people comply with the movement control order.

Proham also notes that the police are currently charging those violating the movement control order in court under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Regulation 2020 and the Penal Code.

Among the objectives of the movement control order are to ensure the people stay at home, exercise social distancing in public areas and avoid large crowds. However, the arresting, detaining in police lock-ups and charging of these suspected violators in court goes against the very objectives of the order.

Currently, the police remand lock-ups are already overcrowded. Suspected violators are then brought to courts, handcuffed together and subsequent to them being charged in court, they are either released on bail or upon pleading guilty, sentenced to a fine or imprisonment. All these actions do not assist in trying to break the spread of the coronavirus.

At a time when our doctors, nurses and hospital resources are already put to the test, the actions and the procedures of the police are counter-productive to the very aim which they intend to achieve.

Hence, Proham urges the police to exercise restraint. Those violating the movement control order hould not be treated as criminals. They are merely defaulters.

Therefore, in trying to achieve the objectives of the movement control order, Proham urges the police to just issue “compound” notices and release the defaulters immediately pending payment; those who fail to pay the compound can be summoned to court once the movement control order is removed.

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In this way, the police will be assisting to ensure that the coronavirus viral chain is broken and not perpetuate its spread.

In the meantime, Proham urges all Malaysians to abide by the movement control order and stay safe at home.

Source: The Malay Mail

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