The Relevant Authorities Should Probe The DCM For Not Wearing A Face Mask In Public


Press Statement By Abdul Aziz:

There was a video footage of Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Awang Tengah Ali Hassan which went viral for flouting the Standard Operating Procedure (“SOP”) guidelines. The video footage with a duration of 26 seconds was taken during his recent official visit to Pantai Kuala Matu on March 31, 2021 based on a Facebook Posting belonging to the Dato State Assemblyman Dr Juanda Jaya. During his official visit, he was escorted by a few police personnel and People’s Volunteer Cops (“RELA”). It was shown that Awang Tengah gave money to the local hawkers without wearing a face mask.

Firstly, why is the Deputy Chief Minister allowed to walk around without a face mask in public? Is there any special treatment in the SOP guidelines which exempts a Deputy Chief Minister from wearing a face mask in public? If so, can the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (“SDMC”) give clarification to the public on which part of the SOP guidelines exempts a Deputy Chief Minister from wearing a face mask in public? If no exemption were given, then would the SDMC take necessary action on the Deputy Chief Minister?

Secondly, were the police personnel and RELA who escorted the Deputy Chief Minister aware that he took off his face mask? If so, did the police personnel and RELA take necessary action to warn/advise/inform the Deputy Chief Minister to follow the SOP guidelines? If not, did the police personnel issue a compound to the Deputy Chief Minister? If no compound were issued to the Deputy Chief Minister, does it mean that the police personnel and RELA had breached their duties?

Thirdly, how does the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (“MACC”) classify the money given by the Deputy Chief Minister to the local traders? Is it considered to be merely a normal buyer-seller relationship? If not, then does it fall under the category of ‘donation’ or ‘alms’ or ‘gift’? If it does not fall under the said three categories, then can MACC give further clarification?

The public demands a good explanation from the relevant authorities of the said incident which went viral in social media. This is because the public were quite curious as to whether different laws do exist between the ordinary people and politicians. As such, if the flouting of SOP guidelines were found on part of the Deputy Chief Minister, then the relevant authorities should take necessary actions in an investigation on this matter. Failure to provide a good explanation to the public will put the integrity and accountability of the relevant authorities in question.