Those who breach movement control order could face RM10,000 fine, says lawyer

Police officers check vehicles at a roadblock on the New Pantai Expressway last night, as the first day of the government’s movement control order comes to a close.

PETALING JAYA: Those who violate the government’s movement control order (MCO), implemented yesterday to curb the spread of Covid-19, risk a fine of up to RM10,000 if the public prosecutor decides to file the case in a magistrate’s court, a lawyer says.

A Srimurugan said the Subordinates Court Act allows a first-class magistrate to impose a fine of that amount as the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 does not specify an exact sum.

Section 24 states that anyone found guilty of an offence for the first time under this law for which no specific penalty is provided is liable to a jail term of up to two years, a fine or both.

Srimurugan said possible offenders could also be slapped with more than RM10,000 if the public prosecutor decides to conduct prosecution at the sessions court.

“Section 65 of the Subordinates Court Act states that a sessions court judge can impose any sentence with the exception of the death penalty,” he told FMT.

He added however that Section 283 (1)(a) of the Criminal Procedure Code says where monetary penalty is not stated, the fine must be just and reasonable.

Under the nationwide MCO announced by Prime Minister Muhyddin Yassin on Monday, no one can “make any journey” from one place to another except to perform official duties, to perform and provide essential services, to purchase, supply or deliver food or daily necessities, to seek treatment or for any other purpose permitted by the director-general (DG) of health.

Lawyer GK Ganesan said the DG or any authorised public officer could compound offenders up to RM1,000 for any offence or regulations made under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.

“This is basically a compassionate power exercised by the authorities in relevant cases,” he said.

Muhyiddin, who yesterday appealed to Malaysians not to return to their hometowns throughout the two-week MCO, said mass movements of people would defeat the purpose of the order.

He said the government would have no choice but to extend the duration of the MCO if the virus is not contained.