LUMUT, 25 March 2020:
Two men, including a policeman, were among the first to be charged at the Seri Manjung magistrate’s court here with defying regulations under the Movement Control Order (MCO) enforced since last March 18 to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Corporal Mohamad Safarrudin Alias, 33, and the fisherman, Nashrull Awang, 43, pleaded guilty to the offence after the charge was read out to them separately before magistrate Nur Shaqira Ibrahim, who meted out the maximum fine of RM1,000, in default three months’ jail.
They were charged with violating Regulation 3 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020 which barred people from travelling to another place declared as an infected area.
According to the charge sheet, Mohamad Safarrudin and Nashrull were travelling from Berek Polis Balai Kampung Rapat Ipoh and 178-B Lorong Bahagia Kampung Serdang, Sitiawan, respectively, to another place declared as an infected area at Besar Lumut Kiri, Sitiawan.
They were charged with committing the offence at Jalan Besar Lumut Kiri, Sitiawan, at 4.15am two days ago (March 23).
Earlier in the same court, Mohamad Safarrudin was fined RM250, in default a week’s jail after he pleaded guilty to a charge with possession of housebreaking tools, such as a metal cutter and crow bar, at the same place, date and time.
Meanwhile, Nashrull was fined RM600, in default a month’s jail, for fraudulent possession of birds nests, weighing 415gm, at the same place, date and time.
Both the charges were framed under the Minor Offences Act 1955.
In KUALA LUMPUR, an unemployed man was sentenced to three-month jail by the magistrates court here today for obstructing members of the People’s Volunteer Corps (RELA) from carrying out their duties during the MCO period.
Magistrate Mohamed Aizat Abdul Rahim sentenced the accused, Hew Foo Keang, 35, after he pleaded guilty to the charge read out to him.
He was charged with intentionally obstructing RELA members, Seow Kok Keong and Zaman Huri Bontak from carrying out their duties under Section 186 of the Penal Code which provides for a maximum jail term of two years, or a maximum fine of RM10,000, or both.
The offence was committed at Jalan Silang, near the Pekan Kepong People’s Housing Project here, at 11.10pm yesterday.
Deputy public prosecutor Ellyna Nor Azmal asked the court to impose a deterrent sentence as the offence was committed during the MCO, which required the public to fully cooperate with all civil servants who were on duty.
The accused, who was represented by a lawyer from the National Legal Aid Foundation, pleaded for a lighter sentence on the grounds it was his first offence and apologised for his actions.
The court also sentenced Hew to a month in jail after he pleaded guilty to failing to produce his identity card or any other identification document during a police inspection on the same date, place, and time.
He committed the offence during an inspection carried out by Corporal Mohd Faisal Abd Razak in accordance with Rule 25 (1) (n) of the National Registration Regulations 1990.
The court ordered Hew to serve both jail sentences concurrently from the date of his arrest yesterday.
In ALOR SETAR, a man who mocked the implementation of the MCO while filming a video clip of a ‘kenduri kepala kambing’ (goat head feast) in Langgar, here recently pleaded guilty to the offence at the sessions court here today.
Judge Juraidah Abbas, however, fixed May 11 as the date of sentencing for the accused, Mohd Naim Md Isa, 49, pending a full forensic report and facts of the case. The court offered him bail RM6,000 with one surety.
Mohd Naim is accused of producing and twice sending out an offensive 57-second long recording, ‘Kuarantin Kepala Bapak’ with the intention of hurting others, that was viewed at the Kota Setar district police headquarters criminal investigations department office.
He committed the offence using the WhatsApp application via his handphone between 12.30pm and 2pm on March 20.
Mohd Naim was charged under Section 233 (1) (a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and could be sentenced under Section 233(3) of the same act which carries a maximum fine of RM50,000 or jail up to one year or both if found guilty.
The video-clip showed scenes of a man recording a group of people feasting on mutton, including the head of a goat in the house compound as the accused went about mocking the implementation of the MCO.
In BAGAN SERAI, a man was arrested for using profane language at policemen conducting operation to ensure public public compliance to the MCO in front of a bank in Pekan Bagan Serai here yesterday.
Kerian district police chief Supt Omar Bakhtiar Yaacob said the 38-year-old man, who is unemployed, was arrested at 8.30pm for refusing to cooperate and obstructing the police from discharging their official function. “The man, who was drunk, had defied the MCO.”
Omar Bakhtiar said the suspect was now in remand for three days.
In another development, he said the woman who was reported to have run away from an isolation room at Parit Buntar Hospital on Monday, had surrendered herself to the hospital yesterday afternoon.
He said the woman, aged 21, claimed to have symptoms of having COVID, but refused to be warded at the hospital and run off with a boy friend. “Police contacted the boyfriend, who then brought the woman back to the hospital at 3.45 pm yesterday.”
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador said the crime index has dropped 70% nationwide since the implementation of the MCO, which came into force March 18.
Although there was a decline in general, he said police detected a significant number of cases involving burglaries and motorcycle thefts.
“They (criminals) are taking advantage of the situation to commit crimes during the MCO and we were able to detect them through roadblocks.
“When they see the police doing roadblocks they turn around,” he said in a special interview on the Selamat Pagi Malaysia programme aired on Radio Television Malaysia here, today.
Abdul Hamid said 46,000 officers and policemen across the country were assigned to do roadblocks, conducts patrols and inspections on public premises, as well as to disseminate information on the implementation of the MCO.
“All of these (efforts) are very important for the public to reduce movement, and we will check whether these (members of the public) are among those who are allowed to leave the house or not.”
He also said 95% of the participants who attended the tabligh gathering at the Sri Petaling Mosque recently have come forward to undergo Covid-19 tests and screenings.
He said the remaining 5%, however, were still being tracked down. “In this regard, the police have set up a task force involving Criminal Investigation Department officers at all district and state levels, in an effort to track down those who attended the gathering at the Sri Petaling Mosque here last month.
“As a result, and in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the task force was able to get the details of up to 10,000 of them (who attended the tabligh programme) and are still tracking down the others.”
Abdul Hamid said the police were now actively contacting the tabligh members to urge them to inform anyone they knew who had yet to undergo the screening to do so.
“I also urge the public not to discriminate against members of this tabligh group as they have not done anything wrong in this matter (Covid-19 issue) and it could have a negative impact on them.
“Stop criticising, ridiculing and uttering abusive words against the tabligh members.
“They have, in fact, been very cooperative with the police and we were able to get more details from them, which they obtained on their own initiative (by tracking down fellow members).”
Abdul Hamid also urged members of the public to inform the police if they knew of any patient or individual suspected of having Covid-19 in order to assist the Health Ministry.