Press Statement By Julian Tan:
MBKS, as the premise owner, should set a good example by allowing other enforcement agencies to issue them the compound for failing to adhere to the COVID-19 SOP by allowing a surprise birthday party to be held within its compound yesterday.
If this were the case of a restaurant, both the business owner and customers who did not comply with the SOP would be fined. Especially to the business owner, they can be slapped with the maximum penalty of RM50’000 compound. They will need to appeal to the health Ministry should they wish to lower the amount.
The ever-changing SOPs and conflicting SOPs between districts also lead to a lot of confusion among the public and business owners. The current RM10’000 for individuals and RM50’000 for the business owner is deemed too heavy. Granted that the public can appeal their cases, however, the process is not that seamless nor contactless.
A slight overlook quickly lands the public and business owners full fledge of compounds instead of just a warning. The law enforcers should exercise some flexibility as not to unfairly burden the public, especially so when the offender commits the offense not as an act of defiance but by sheer carelessness or forgetfulness. Many are just honest or unintentional mistakes; they should be let off with a reprimand
In contrast, MBKS, as one of the enforcement agencies, knowing full well of the SOP compliances, did not receive the same ‘full-treatment’ as any other business owners. Even MBKS overlooked and allowed the non-compliance of SOP event to proceed. Due to possible conflict of interest, it’s only proper for MBKS to allow other enforcement agencies such as the police department to issue them the compound but not themselves.
Stringent SOPs are there to curb Covid-19, and there should be no double standards when it comes to implementation. In Sarawak we did not implement a full lockdown. According to Sarawak Health director, we are already in crisis with our ICU beds full across Sarawak. SOP compliance is all that we have. COVID-19 can infect anyone for the disease does not differentiate between status and position and that the SOPs must be adhered to by everyone.
Special Assistant to YB Chong Chieng Jen