The police say that the movement control order (MCO), which will move into phase three from tomorrow until April 28, is likely to continue into June if the public remains defiant to the measures taken by the government to halt the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The inspector-general of police (IGP) Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador said if cases of Covid-19 infections continue to increase because people continued to be stubborn and flout the rules, the MCO could likely continue until June, Harian Metro reports.

“In this regard, I again warn the public not to forget that the stringent measures imposed by the MCO will not be loosened. Arrests will be intensified against those who violate the MCO directive,” he said.

The IGP’s words echoed that of senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who said today that the government has had enough of those who blatantly disregard the MCO, and will begin remanding and charging violators in court, and not just impose a compound fine of RM1,000.

“Starting tomorrow, whoever is arrested will be remanded and charged in court. Let the court decide, because based on Section 24 of the Prevention And Control Of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342), the court can punish violators with imprisonment of not more than two years, and not more than five years for a second or subsequent offences,” he added.

Speaking at the daily non-health press briefing earlier today, the defence minister said that 1,374 individuals were arrested for MCO-related offences yesterday (April 13), and 931 of those detained were slapped with the RM1,000 fine. He added that cumulative arrests up to April 13 totaled 9,090, and 4,036 compound notices had been issued thus far.

Ismail Sabri said that the decision to impose harsher penalties was made as it appears the rakyat do not care or are not afraid of the law, and that perhaps the sum is not considered high enough to scare those who violate the MCO.

He said that the police has agreed that the level of compliance is not at the level intended. “Maybe people have forgotten, or have chosen to forget, so the police will no longer compromise by just issuing a compound but will send violators to court. If you are remanded, you might spend a day or two in the lock-up,” he said.

“It won’t be like now, where a compound notice is issued and you can go back home and pay the fine within two weeks. The current mentality is akin to getting a traffic summons that you don’t need to pay until whenever, because nothing happens. This time though, it is different. Because a lot of people aren’t afraid of the fine, from tomorrow there will be no more compromises, we will haul offenders to court,” he stated.

So yes, stay off the roads if you’re not really part of the essential services brigade. The last thing you want to be in is a traffic jam for hours, adding to the misery of all, just because you simply want to be out of the house. Let’s not drag this into June, folks. It doesn’t do anything for anyone.

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