The government will convert prison academies throughout the country to accommodate the increasing number of those detained for violating the movement control order (MCO).
The home ministry has identified 13 prison academies for the purpose, saying this can also allay fears of overcrowding.
“At the academy, the same rules will be used as in a normal prison. They will follow the same SOP,” Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said at a press conference today.
He added that further discussions would be held with the police, prisons department and Attorney-General’s Chambers.
MCO violators were previously jailed, but it was later decided to issue compounds after the Prisons Department complained this would lead to overcrowding and could create new Covid-19 outbreaks.
However, the authorities have reverted to the original punishment because the number of violators has continued to increase.
Yesterday, Ismail Sabri said the police will no longer issue the RM1,000 fixed compound rate, taking a tougher line against motorists who refuse to abide by the MCO, adding that those arrested for breaching the MCO will be remanded and charged in court.
“Let the court decide on the punishment.”
Anyone found guilty under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) are liable to imprisonment of up to two years, a fine, or both.
Bukit Aman CID director Huzir Mohamed told reporters the police will not compromise during the third phase of the MCO, which starts today.
“We will arrest and charge (you) in court. We will open an investigation paper and charge the offenders.
According to Huzir, many of those arrested were unable to provide a reasonable excuse as to why they had left their homes during the MCO.
Since the MCO was first imposed on March 18, more than 14,900 people have been detained for breaching the order.
“A total of 3,627 people were picked up during phase one, while 11,295 people were arrested during phase two,” Huzir said.