The second coming of the Movement Control Order (MCO) is underway in several states in Malaysia beginning Wednesday (13 January).
And just like the previous MCO, there are a new set of rules, regulations and SOPs we all need to follow.
An honest mistake
Under the current rule, violators of SOPs will be handed a RM1,000 fine, which is a fair amount (although some quarters are calling for an increase in fine amount
What's not fair is that sometimes, Malaysians get fined for some really petty reasons.
Remember the case where a man was fined for not checking in
at a petrol station using his MySejahtera app? Or the case where a college student was slapped with the maximum RM1,000 fine for adjusting his face mask
However, we can't really place too much blame on the authorities for doing their jobs, because despite working with a set of guidelines, the SOPs provided by the government can be quite confusing.
So, if you feel that you've been wrongly and unfairly summoned, there's actually something you can do.
What to do in case you're unfairly fined
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador said during a press conference on Tuesday (12 January) that the police will be tightening the rules as the MCO comes into effect.
While he mentioned that those who are stranded in their hometowns with valid reasons when the MCO starts are allowed to travel back
to the city, he mentioned that the police would still require those travelling interstate to have an official letter or permit from the police.
IGP Abdul Hamid added that those who felt that they had been unfairly summoned for violating the SOP could appeal to the federal police headquarters
"Anyone who is dissatisfied for being issued a compound fine can refer to the police (headquarters) so that action can be taken to establish the truth," he was quoted by The Sun
While an appeal doesn't guarantee a cancellation of your summon, the authorities have proven that they are willing to cancel or change the punishment
should they determine that a mistake was made.
Here are some of the things you need to do if you receive a summon that you feel is unfair:
#1 Take note of all the details
Note down the exact time and date the summon was issued to you. Although not really necessary, you could also take note of the police officer's ID number and his name as additional information. Do note that it is within your rights
to ask a police officer to identify himself.
#2 Take a picture as proof
If a police officer gave you a summon for not having proper documentation, take a picture of the summon as well as your official letter. Do make sure that the date on your summon and details of your letter are clearly visible. This picture proof would help your case when you make an appeal at the police headquarters. Having said that, although there are no laws
that stipulate that you can't record a video of a police officer doing his duty, do avoid taking photos or videos of the abang polis
because who knows, you could get into a different set of troubles.
#3 Assemble your witnesses
If you receive a summon in a public place for, say, not wearing a face mask (but you obviously were), ask around and see if any one is willing to step forward as a witness for you. Take down the person's contact details and if the investigators ask if you have a witness to your claim, you can always give your new found friend a call.
#4 Do not argue with the authorities
This is most probably the most important rule. Even if you feel that you're being treated unfairly, don't make matters worse by arguing. Do keep calm and avoid making a scene. You could be hauled up for obstruction of justice if you're screaming in the abang polis
' face, and the punishment for that is even more severe than a mere RM1,000 fine. So, if the authorities are writing up a summons, calmly make your case and if they refuse to listen, follow the steps above and make an appeal later.