Judicial review sought against fine for man unable to pay quarantine costs

Batu MP P Prabakaran says the Covid-19 SOPs should be applied on a case-by-case basis. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: A judicial review will be filed against a RM1,000 fine issued to a man who was unable to pay his quarantine costs after he returned home from a work-related trip in Singapore.

Batu MP P Prabakaran, who is raising awareness of the case, told reporters in Parliament today that the man, who had a job in Singapore, was unable to work during the movement control order (MCO) period.

The man, whom he identified as Arunachalam, returned to Singapore on July 10 to check on his employment status.

He underwent a 14-day quarantine in Singapore and the charges were paid by his employer. However, when he returned to Malaysia on July 24, he was again asked to go under mandatory isolation at a quarantine centre in Tampoi.

He had informed the Malaysian authorities that he could not afford the costs. However, he was issued a RM1,000 compound on Aug 4 for not settling the charges, on top of an invoice for RM2,100 for the quarantine costs on Aug 6.

Prabakaran said the charges were unreasonable. “The SOPs should be applied on a case-by-case basis. He is being criminalised for not being able to pay the quarantine charges.”

On a related matter, he lauded an announcement by Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob that the government would be waiving the quarantine charges for the B40 group.

However, Prabakaran asked if the government would refund the charges that had already been paid by them.

“And for this man (Arunachalam), what is the status of his case? What are the guidelines that should take place?” he asked.

Lawyer Dinesh Muthal said the judicial review would be filed this week.

He said that although certain agencies were mandated to enforce regulations under the law, it must be done according to the principles of natural justice.