If you think you can get easily get away with paying a compound of RM1,000 if you flout quarantine regulations, this may change soon.
The Health Ministry is hoping to increase the fine for compoundable offences under Act 342 of the Prevention and Control Of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 from the current RM1,000 to RM10,000 instead.
According to a report by The Star, health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that the ministry has submitted their proposal to Parliment.
"The act was drafted in 1988, the RM1,000 was reasonable back then but now we need to revise it... So I leave it to Parliament to decide, ” he said.
The statement follows public outcry over Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali who was compounded RM1,000 for skipping quarantine following a trip to Turkey.
Netizens were also confused and angered as to why the minister got away with the RM1,000 compound whereas another quarantine flouter, an elderly lady who was spotted with a pink bracelet in Ipoh was sentenced to a day in jail and fined RM8,000 recently.
What the act says
Stated under PART V - Offences and Penalties of the act, it seems like the minister was compounded under Section 25 and the elderly woman was charged under Section 24.
Here's what the different sections state.
Section 24. General penalty.
Any person guilty of an offence under this Act for which no specific penalty is provided shall be liable on conviction-
(a) in respect of a first offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to fine or to both;
(b) in respect of a second or subsequent offence, to imprisonment not exceeding five years or to fine or to both;
(c) in respect of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding two hundred ringgit for every day during which such offence continues.
Section 25. Compounding of offences.
The Director General or any public officer authorized for this purpose by him in writing may compound any offence under this Act or any regulations made under this Act which has been prescribed by regulations as compoundable by collecting from the offender a sum of money not exceeding one thousand ringgit.
So, who decides on who should be charged and who should be compounded? This falls on the shoulders of the authorities.
Anyway, increasing the maximum compound could be a good move but what is also needed is fair judgement i.e. no special treatment for VIPs.
What do you think? Will increasing compounds help? Tell us in the comments.