Citing viral video of distressed teen, Opposition MPs urge govt to reduce face mask penalty

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii (centre) speaks during a press conference at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur August 13, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii (centre) speaks during a press conference at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur August 13, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13 — Opposition MPs today urged the government to lower the fine for not wearing a face mask from RM1,000 to RM250, an amount similar to the smoking ban fine enforced at eateries.

The MPs said it was unfair that the face mask fine is so high while an offence such as smoking at eateries is equally serious.

During trying times like this, the sum of RM1,000 is far too high, the MPs added.

“The news footage of a young boy who wept after the police compounded him for not wearing a face mask properly was heart wrenching for many.

“At the same time, ruling elites can easily get away with paying fines or sometimes incur no penalty at all.

“Why is there a double standard practised by the authorities?” said DAP’s Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii.

In a TV3 interview recently, a teenager was seen crying after being handed the compound, saying he had pulled down his face mask temporarily as it was itchy.

In the same video, a police officer said many often gave the excuse that they had only taken off their face mask for a short while, but he referred to the ruling which stated that face masks must be worn at all times in crowded public places.

Dr Yii referred to a recent incident where Umno’s Sembrong MP Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, who has been an MP since 1995 and now a senior minister, paid a mere RM250 for using his vape device openly in the Dewan Rakyat.

“He even had the audacity to ask, ‘Apa lagi Kluang (Kluang MP) nak?’ when he was urged by the Kluang MP to apologise officially in the August House,” he said.

Dr Yii also cited another incident where a woman was fined for not wearing her mask while she was on her way back to her car to retrieve it upon realising that she had forgotten to wear it.

“On the other hand, photos can be seen on ministers’ social media accounts showing their attendance at crowded events but not wearing masks.

“Yet no one has been punished,” he said.

Dr Yii added that several MPs are in the midst of finalising a petition that has so far collected 77 signatures including five from the ruling coalition.

“We want to also urge all MPs to support our petition to reduce the compound,” he said.

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