Penang forms ‘special squads’ to check compliance with movement control order

Penang Island City Council officers paste a warning notice on the door of an eatery in George Town. (MBPP pic)

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government today said it has formed “special squads” on the island and mainland to monitor compliance of the movement control order (MCO) to stem the spread of Covid-19.

Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the first team from the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) had conducted patrols around the island and issued 253 notices.

The notices – issued to traders, eateries, pasar malam and other businesses under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 – serve as a warning and may be followed by a fine for repeat offenders.

MBPP mayor Yew Tung Seang said 50 enforcement officers will work in six teams giving advice on social distancing, especially at shops selling essential goods.

He said the officers will also ensure that restaurants only cater to takeaways.

Under the law, the health director-general or any authorised public officer could compound offenders up to RM1,000 for any offence under the MCO.

On the mainland, teams from the Seberang Perai City Council are also patrolling several areas to ensure the MCO is enforced, mayor Rozali Mohamud said.

Separately, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said enforcement measures had been “moderate and advisory” so far but would be stricter from now on.

“I have asked the councils to act strictly against those disobeying the MCO,” he said.

Earlier today, MBPP revealed that the Air Itam market area was bustling with people despite an order to practise social distancing.

Chow also announced a special hotline for all queries related to Covid-19 at 04-262 1207 and 04-262 1819, and an online portal, https://penanglawancovid19.com, both run by the Penang Covid-19 Special Task Force at Komtar.

There are 32 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Penang as at noon today.

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