Press Statement By Abdul Aziz:
Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister (“DCM”) Awang Tengah Ali Hassan revealed that he had already been contacted by the police for flouting the standard operating procedure (SOP) guidelines.
On behalf of the public, several questions need to be answered by the DCM. Firstly, when did the police contact him? Did he receive the call from the police after he attended the event at Pantai Kuala Matu on March 31, 2021 or after the 25-second video had gone viral (April 7, 2021)? Which police station contacted him? As an elected representative who holds the public office, Awang Tengah ought to disclose these so that the majority of the public can keep track on this issue and to ensure that the statement he made was reliable.
Secondly, when afternoon had passed, did the police officially issue a compound on him for flouting the SOP guidelines? If yes, how much is the compound issued to him? Will he need to pay in full amount of RM10,000 like other ordinary people or will he be given any discounts? This is also important because the public wants to ensure that relevant authorities take necessary action on DCM without fear and favors as how they did with ordinary people who breached the SOP. This is to make sure that the relevant authorities will act accordingly to the rule of law with integrity and accountability.
Thirdly, since he claimed that he was walking hurriedly and didn’t realise that his face mask was off, does it mean that the police who escorted him had breached their duty of care to warn, advise or inform him? If the police who escorted him had been found breaching their duty of care, will there be any disciplinary actions taken against the police? From the 24-second video, we can see that the police was a few metres away from him and it is out of logic if we say that the police was not aware that he took off his face mask.
Awang Tengah had admitted that he forgot to put on a face mask. Covid-19 pandemic has spread throughout the globe since the end of 2019. On March 2020, Malaysians have been told to wear face masks whenever they go to public places except when doing certain activities like cardio or sports. Since then, we have been using face masks for more than a year and it has become a norm to us all.
Therefore, being an elected representative and who is mentally capable, forgetting to wear a face mask is unacceptable and out of norm.
Awang Tengah should not take this issue lightly. He should be aware that wearing face masks in public spaces is the new normal.
Abdul Aziz Isa
Special Assistant to YB Chong Chieng Jen
DAP Batu Kitang Chairman
DAPSY Stampin Chief