Help public check abuse of power over RMCO fines, says MP

The government has set a RM1,000 fine for any non-compliance of the mandatory face mask rule during the RMCO period.

PETALING JAYA: The public must have an avenue to file any complaints pertaining to enforcement action taken during the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) that the country is under.

This will help check the actions taken, especially those which are said to be excessive, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok said in a statement today.

“I urge the government to establish a Covid-19 law enforcement complaints and appeals committee or an Ombudsman for the public to file any complaints against over-policing and abuse of power by enforcement officers.

“While I appreciate the intention of the government to implement various measures, as well as in imposing hefty fines on the public, to curb the spread of Covid-19, the government should also be mindful that this could give rise to abuse of power and corruption by enforcement officers,” she said.

The DAP deputy secretary-general added that having such a committee will also alleviate public grouses of there being no avenue for aggrieved persons to lodge complaints or to seek appeals against disproportionate fines.

Teresa Kok

“I have received complaints that some enforcement officers are intentionally making life difficult for business owners. There are allegations of corruption,” Kok said.

She also referred to the video that had gone viral, showing a youth in tears after being fined RM1,000 for just pulling down his face mask past his nose for a few seconds, saying “it was appalling”.

The former minister called for the government to relook the fines for non-compliance with the mandatory face mask rule.

“I support the petition started by Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii and Kluang MP Wong Shu Qi to reduce the compounds for non-compliance in the wearing of face masks in crowded public areas.

“It should be introduced in stages, with RM250 for a first-time offender,” she said, adding that the current blanket imposition of a flat RM1,000 compound fine is unconscionable and disproportionate for all transgressions, no matter how trivial.

The former minister also believes that a committee or Ombudsman to review the harsh penalties imposed on the public would also help protect the image and integrity of law enforcement agencies.