The government will utilise the prison department’s academy buildings as detention centres to hold those who are sentenced for movement control order (MCO) offences. Offenders will serve time at one of the 13 academy premises that will be gazetted by the ministry of home affairs as detention centres, The Star reports.

The centres will house MCO offenders to avoid overcrowding in prisons, where there is an inability to carry out social distancing, senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in his daily non-health press briefing yesterday. He added that offenders should not expect things to be cushy, despite it not being an actual prison.

“By using these premises as detention centres, we have resolved concerns of overcrowding in prisons. Bear in mind that the detention centres may not have the physical outlook of a prison, but all prison rules will still apply there,” he said.

Ismail Sabri said the move was in preparation for the expected swell in detainees, in line with the decision to remand and bring MCO violators to court instead of issuing them with a RM1,000 compound, which he said has not served as enough of a deterrence.

“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 on Tuesday.

“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,” he stated.

On Tuesday, police arrested 612 people for MCO violations. Of that total, 590 were remanded while the others released on police bail. The police conducted 799 roadblocks nationwide and inspected 545,182 vehicles.

The number of arrests dropped from Monday, when 1,374 individuals were arrested for MCO-related offences, and 931 of those were slapped with the RM1,000 fine. The number of vehicles, however, did not differ much from Monday, when 546,553 vehicles were inspected at 786 roadblocks.

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