Police report lodged against Penang doctor at jogging park

Dr Ong Hean Teik confronted by council officers while taking a walk at Taman Belia in George Town in this video shared online.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Island City Council has lodged a police report against a doctor who allegedly refused to take advice from an enforcement officer from leaving a recreational park during the movement control order (MCO).

“All I want to say is, we are going out to advise people from gathering in public and stay at home. Our job is to enforce the MCO for the good of the people.

“We have lodged a police report against this person and we leave it to the police to investigate,” Mayor Yew Tung Seang told FMT when contacted.

He did not comment further, saying it was now a police case. Northeast district police chief Soffian Santong said the case was being investigated.

Earlier today, a video of cardiologist Dr Ong Hean Teik speaking to three city council officers at Youth Park, a popular jogging spot, had gone viral.

In that video, he was heard saying that he had the right to exercise outdoors so long it was done in isolation, in order to keep fit. He said it was important to stay healthy during a virus outbreak by being physically fit.

The federal health authorities have decreed that all should stay indoors as much as possible during the MCO period until March 31 to stem the spread of Covid-19.

Section 3 (2) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations, 2020 reads: “No person shall gather or be involved in any gathering within any infected local area whether for religious, sports, recreational, social or cultural purpose.”

In response to the police report, Ong told FMT that he was interviewed by police officers today.

He told the officers that he was upset that a video filmed by the city council officers had been made viral, making him look like a “black sheep”. He said as a result, he had been taunted with prank phone calls and messages throughout the day.

“I merely explained to the council officers that I disagreed with the law and it was nothing personal. I did not insult or assault them. One of them filmed me and made it viral, trying to make me look bad.

“Look, if the law requires me to stay at home and be in a curfew, I will obey the order.

“Now the MCO, is it a curfew? If it is not a stay at home law, but merely a movement restriction law, why is the army being called over the weekend? The authorities must explain,” he said.