KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — The increase in maximum penalties for violations of Covid-19 regulations need to be reviewed as it is too hefty and disproportionate, especially for the low and middle-income households, individuals, as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (NCCIM) opined that it is inconsiderate to add on the heavy fine burden, given that low-and middle-income households and SMEs are still facing tough times as well as cash flow problems.
“There are concerns that the spot fines of RM10,000 could be open to abuse, bribery and double standards,” the NCCIM said in a statement today.
Under the Emergency (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021, effective March 11, 2021, the government has increased the fine for violations of the movement control order (MCO) regulations and standard operating procedures (SOP) by tenfold, from RM1,000 to up to RM10,000 for individuals.
Meanwhile, the maximum penalty for companies or corporations has been raised to an eye-watering RM50,000, up from a maximum of RM10,000 previously, while representatives of companies that violate the SOPs can also be charged in court, the NCCIM said.
“The inconsistency of SOP interpretations and enforcement has instilled fear and anxiety amongst the general public and businesses,” it noted.
NCCIM also emphasised that efforts to educate Malaysians to comply with the SOPs must continue, and urged the government to come up with better deterrent methods, including consistency of SOPs.
“While we reckon that harsher punishments can deter SOPs violations, the quantum of the increase can be less steep, and the enforcement units must enforce the SOPs in a consistent and objective manner.
“Every Malaysian, irrespective of status and position bears the responsibility to comply with the SOPs. Businesses must strictly adhere to the SOPs to keep the workplace safe and clean for their employees to work,” it added.