Apparently, people are willing to burn RM1,000 just to be out and about, blatantly disregarding the government’s movement control order (MCO) advisory. Earlier today, senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the amount was too low, and that the government was serious about raising it.

“If we look at Singapore, effective April 17, the fine on the first offender is SGD10,000 (RM30,492), and the second offender is SGD20,000 (RM60,948). In South Korea, the first offender is fined RM35,000. In Indonesia, my guess is 300 million rupiah (RM82,000),” he told the press in Putrajaya earlier today.

“We may want to ask the ministry of health to discuss with the attorney-general’s chambers, if necessary, to raise the fine and compound,” he added. “A jail term can also be added to serve as a deterrent to ensure that there is no violation of the MCO,” he said, but the prisons department is against jailing offenders because social distancing is impossible in prison, where it is often overcrowded.

The move to raise the compound fee is largely due to the high number of detainees who have been caught violating the MCO. Ismail Sabri said that yesterday (April 9), the police had detained 666 individuals (let’s not go there, shall we?), 392 of which were each slapped with the RM1,000 fine. Eleven of them were released on bail, while 263 others remain detained.

“The total number of arrests for violating the MCO from March 18 to April 9, 2020 was 7,479,” he added. Yesterday, the police and the army inspected 508,605 vehicles at 775 roadblocks nationwide, and had also inspected 5,538 premises across the country.

Once again, we implore everyone to just weather this out. The MCO has just been extended for two more weeks, with the tentative end date being April 28. As for the RM1,000 fine, do you think the rate is too low? Should the government impose a heftier penalty on MCO violators? Share your thoughts with us on the matter.

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