Single mum avoids 1-month jail for Covid-19 fake news conviction

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 Feb 2020:

An Indonesian woman was sentenced to one week in jail and fined RM1,000 by the magistrate’s court here today after she pleaded guilty to making a false statement in connection with the spread of Covid-19 infection on her Facebook account.

Fui Lina, 31, made the plea after the charge was read to her by an interpreter before magistrate Wong Chai Sia.

The court ordered Fui, who works as sales promoter, to serve her jail sentence beginning today and she was also fined RM1,000, in default of one month’s jail.

Fui was alleged to have posted the statement on her Facebook account under the name ‘Kimiko’ about the Covid-19 infection, with the intent to cause public mischief.

She was accused to have committed the offence via her Facebook posting at a house in Taman Danau Kota, Setapak, here at 9.55pm on Feb 1 and she was charged under Section 505 (b) of the Penal Code – which provides for a maximum jail term of two years or a fine or both, upon conviction.

Earlier, the accused appealed for a minimum fine on the grounds that she was a single mother.

However, deputy public prosecutor Wan Ahmad Hakimi Wan Ahmad Jaafar pressed for just sentence as the accused committed the offence and caused fear among the public. “A fine alone is insufficient to serve as a lesson for the accused and the public.”

The accused paid the fine.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said there is no new Covid-19 cases reported today in Malaysia and thus far, the total cumulative confirmed cases remained at 22.

She said of the total, five were still being treated, while 17 others have fully recovered and were allowed to return home.

“Of the five cases, three are currently placed at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, one at the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital, Kedah and another one at the Sungai Buloh Hospital,” she said after chairing a high-level committee meeting on Covid-19 in Putrajaya.

Commenting on a US female passenger on board MS Westerdam who tested positive for Covid-19 on Feb 15, Dr Wan Azizah said, the woman has been tested negative twice since.

“However, she is still being kept at the Sungai Buloh Hospital as she still has the symptoms and will only be allowed to return home once she is cleared (of the symptoms).

The 82-year-old woman, one of the passengers on board the MS Westerdam cruise ship, is the 22nd tested positive for Covid-19 in Malaysia.

The cruise ship anchored in Hong Kong for a day before embarking on a 14-day East Asia Cruise starting Feb 1. However, Japan, the Philippines, and Thailand prohibited the ship from docking at their ports after several passengers on board of another cruise ship, Diamond Princess, which was docked at a port in Japan were tested positive for Covid-19.

The ship was finally allowed to anchor in Sihanoukville, Cambodia on Feb 13.

The woman and her husband then boarded a chartered flight from the Sihanoukville International Airport and landed at KL International Airport on Feb 15.

However, her husband tested negative for Covid-19.

Dr Wan Azizah said Malaysia was still in the early containment phase as there was no case of human to human transmission, no sporadic cases detected within the community, no death recorded and the handling of the situation was also within the capabilities and capacity of the resources.

– Bernama