MPs Urge Government to Reduce RM1,000 Fine for Not Using Face Masks

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Petition for the fine to be reduced from RM1,000 to RM250 supported by 78 MPs from both sides of the political divide.

Two MPs today urged the government to reduce the fine for those caught disobeying the rule for the mandatory use of face masks in public places, calling the RM1,000 compound “excessive”.

Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii and Kluang MP Wong Shu Qi said their petition for the fine to be reduced from RM1,000 to RM250 was supported by 78 MPs from both sides of the political divide.

“The RM1,000 fine is a burden to the B40 group, students, disabled persons, and those whose jobs and incomes have been affected during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Yii.

Yusof Mat Isa

He said lawmakers understand the reason for making mask-wearing mandatory in public places, but believe that the directive should aim to educate, not punish, people.

The use of masks has been mandatory on public transport and in crowded places since August 1.

In a TV3 interview recently, a teenager was seen crying after being handed the compound, saying he had pulled down his face mask temporarily as it was itchy.

In the same video, a police officer said many often gave the excuse that they had only taken off their face mask for a short while, but he referred to the ruling which stated that face masks must be worn at all times in crowded public places.

Yii referred to a recent incident where Umno’s Sembrong MP Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, who has been an MP since 1995 and now a senior minister, paid a mere RM250 for using his vape device openly in the Dewan Rakyat.

“He even had the audacity to ask, ‘Apa lagi Kluang (Kluang MP) nak?’ when he was urged by the Kluang MP to apologise officially in the August House,” he said.

Wong, meanwhile, said there had been “double standards” since the rule came into effect as no action was taken against ministers seen attending crowded events without face masks or without using them properly.

“I think the issue here is clear,” she added. “We don’t want a government which has double standards.”

Adding that the “ruling (class)” could afford to pay the fine, she said ordinary people would feel the pressure.

The RM1,000 fine is provided for under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 988.