Community service instead of jail for 2 who went fishing during MCO

Chin Chee Wei and Chong Poh Wah had been sentenced to three months’ jail for not complying with the MCO by going fishing.

TAIPING: The High Court here has ordered two labourers who were sentenced to three months’ jail after being caught fishing to feed their families during the movement control order (MCO) period to perform community service instead.

Judicial Commissioner K Muniandy said the non-custodial sentence was appropriate after considering the interest of the public and the appellants.

“This is an exceptional time and everyone must comply with the MCO imposed by the state. However, there are other options available such as binding over and ordering accused persons to do community service,” the judge said in allowing the criminal revision sought by Chin Chee Wei and Chong Poh Wah.

Muniandy then set aside the three months’ jail imposed by a Magistrate’s Court in Sungai Siput, Perak, last week.

Lawyer Balakrishna Balaravi Pillai, who represented Chin and Chong, said his clients would be performing the community service as ordered by the court after the MCO was lifted.

The two will undertake community work under the Offenders Compulsory Attendance Act and will be supervised by prisons officers.

“It will be for four hours a day on weekdays for a duration of three months,” Balakrishna told FMT.

He said the two who were being held in the Tapah prison since Friday would be released this evening

Chin,45, and Chong, 56, who pleaded guilty to the offence, said they were only trying to put food on the table for their families.

The two, who were on a motorcycle, had gone fishing at a pond in Rimba Panjang on Thursday and were stopped by policemen doing their rounds.

Balakrishna, from the National Legal Aid Foundation, mitigated that the accused could not find any work since the MCO was implemented.

He suggested that they perform community service instead of jail time.