The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) has urged the government to strictly regulate how fines for standard operating procedure (SOP) violations can be imposed and reviewed.

This was to prevent “arbitrary” decisions and instances of corruption.

In a statement today, the NGO expressed concern over the government’s frequent changes with regard to the fines.

“We are of the opinion that the government is not very serious in handling public health issues. The government’s frequency of making U-turns is causing confusion among the public,” it said.

District health officers have been tasked with utilising their discretion to make decisions when individuals appeal for a lower fine.

“We are concerned that the culture of abuse and abuse of power among public officials will become more rampant in the absence of consistent enforcement procedures,” it said.

The KLSCAH thus proposed that Putrajaya utilise an online database to identify first-time SOP violators from repeat offenders to help it impose compounds fairly.

It also suggested an “Appeals Guideline” for both law enforcers and violators.

“This will help prevent district health officers from imposing arbitrary compounds,” it said.

On March 11, the maximum penalty for Covid-19 SOP violations was raised from RM1,000 to RM10,000 for individuals. Companies can now be fined up to RM50,000.

Following backlash over the exorbitant amounts and an admission that the police had no choice but to issue the maximum fine, Putrajaya said individuals could “appeal” to district health officers for a lesser fine.

Earlier this week, Putrajaya decided to reduce the fine for first-time SOP violations to RM1,500.

It also introduced a tiered system where violations are categorised as either normal, moderate or severe based on the risk posed by the offence.

Violators can now qualify for discounts if they settle their fines within two weeks or belong to a specific group.

KLSCAH’s proposal was part of its memorandum to the National Security Council expressing its opposition to the reviewed fine quantums.

The memorandum was signed by 64 other NGOs and associations.

These included Dong Zong, Jiao Zong, Universiti of Malaya Association of New Youth and Pusat Komas.

NSC director-general Mohd Rabin Basir accepted the document on behalf of the council.

Retrieved from Malaysiakini

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