Teresa Kok: RM10,000 Fine for Breaking SOPs Too Harsh

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The Health Ministry’s proposal to raise the existing RM1,000 fine to RM10,000 for those who violate regulations meant to prevent infectious diseases is too extreme for “ordinary people” and will only breed corruption in future, Opposition lawmaker Teresa Kok said.

In a statement, the Seputeh MP said as it is, the RM1,000 fine was already unbearable for many poor people.

“The proposal to increase it to RM10,000 would further increase their financial burden, especially during the economic downturn.

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“The stiff penalty proposed will also indirectly encourage more cases of abuse of power and enhance possible corrupt practices in enforcement,” she said.

Kok was commenting on health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s proposal for the fine for compoundable offences under the Act to be increased.

Dr Noor Hisham said the revised figure had been submitted to Parliament recently and would take some time to be passed.

He reportedly said RM1,000 fine was “reasonable” back in 1988 when the law was drafted but needs revision now.

Kok urged the health ministry and the government to continue educating the public on the importance of adopting practices and measures to protect themselves from diseases like Covid-19.

“It is axiomatic that education and persuasion is always more effective and far better than punitive action,” she said.