The maximum fine of RM10,000 for those who break COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs), beginning March 11, will not apply to everyone.

Instead, it would only be imposed on repeat and serious offenders, Senior Minister (security cluster) Ismail Sabri Yaakob has clarified.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Ismail said that the maximum fine under the amended Emergency Ordinance took into account the current situation in the country.

According to him, nightclub patrons and those who violate their mandatory quarantine order top the list of SOP violators.

"As stated before, nightclubs are listed as non-essential and should not be operating. Yet every day, there are those arrested for the offence. I believe these offenders deserve higher fines for their stubbornness.

"The maximum compound should also be issued against those who violate their quarantine by going out despite being fitted with pink quarantine bands. This is dangerous as they could spread the virus," the New Straits Times quoted the minister saying.

Ismail noted that the higher fine amount is justified, as previously, offenders, including a factory which has caused 4,000 of its workers to be infected with COVID-19, was only fined RM1,000, according to provisions in the law then.

The amended fine amount, following the declaration of emergency, will see companies fined a maximum of RM50,000, and individuals, RM10,000, for violating SOPs.

The minister stressed that the fine under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 can however, be appealed.

Ismail yesterday announced that four states previously under the Movement Control Order (MCO), namely Selangor, Johor, Kuala Lumpur, and Penang, will be put under the Conditional MCO (CMCO) from March 5 to 18.

Kedah, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, and Sarawak will remain under CMCO, while six other states - Melaka, Pahang, Terengganu, Sabah, Putrajaya and Labuan will be joining Perlis under the Recovery MCO (RMCO) category.

Inter-district travel is now allowed, except for in Sabah, while inter-state travel in still banned.

As of yesterday, there have been a total of 304,135 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, with 1,141 deaths.

The global coronavirus infection and death tally has surpassed 115 million, and 2.55 million, respectively.

Source: NST
Photo source: Astro Awani