Order community service, not jail, for those flouting MCO, urges Prisons chief

Prisons authorities say 378 offenders, who pleaded guilty to contravening the MCO, had been sent to serve sentences by the courts until April 1.

PETALING JAYA: The prisons authorities have urged the courts to order those who flout the movement control order (MCO), aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 virus, to perform compulsory community service instead of sending them to jail.

Prisons director-general Zulkifli Omar, in a letter to the chief registrar of the Federal Court Ahmad Terrirudin Mohd Salleh, said the move was to avert any possibility of the virus being spread among inmates and staff.

He said new prisoners would add to congestion in jails and the department also feared that the virus could spread as the health status of the newcomers was not determined.

He said social distancing could not be enforced and this posed a threat to existing inmates and prison staff.

“The department suggests that those who flout the MCO be allowed to do compulsory social work under the Offenders Compulsory Attendance Act 1954 as punishment instead of sending them to jail,” he said in the April 2 letter sighed by FMT.

Zulkifli Omar

Zulkifli said the prison authorities had been using this law since 2010.

“We hope you will give due consideration and cooperation to this matter,” he said, adding that until April 1, 378 offenders (those who pleaded guilty) had been sent to serve sentences by the courts.

A copy of the letter was also advanced to Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat and home ministry secretary-general Jamil Rakon.

FMT is attempting to get a response from Terrirudin.