Jail, so what? Defiant Malaysians will still ignore SOPs, says expert

A health expert says defiant Malaysians will continue ignoring the standard operating procedures (SOPs) even as the man linked to the Sivaganga cluster was slapped with jail time and a fine.

Prof Datuk Dr N.K.S. Tharmaseelan added “caution fatigue” has set in, evident in most public spaces where people wear their face masks below their chins and ignore physical distancing. He added some politicians failed to set an example as they have been pictured without face masks or wore the masks wrongly.

“I don’t think people will take notice of this (court decision). It’s back to normal for many. It’s happening here and it’s happening in other parts of the world,” said Dr Tharmaseelan, a former Malaysian Medical Association president.

“I don’t think one such case will make a difference because people will do what they want to do. That’s the reality.”

The man, who owns a nasi kandar restaurant and the source of the Sivaganga Covid-19 cluster in Kedah, was sentenced to five months jail and fined RM12,000.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said those who breach the quarantine order will be dragged to court.

Several villages in Kedah and Perlis had to be locked down after the man visited his shop despite being under home quarantine.

The Health Ministry, had on Aug 11, said some 5,645 people from the Sivaganga cluster were screened, and 45 tested positive.

Covid-19 infections related to the said cluster were also detected in Perlis and Penang.

Yesterday, a couple from Kampung Kuala Sanglang in Perlis, were arrested by police after they admitted to removing their pink quarantine wristbands to go grocery shopping outside the Targeted Enhanced Movement Control Order (TEMCO) area.

“We’ve heard of people talking about caution fatigue. It’s when people become overly cautious and after some time, they give up being so. It’s similar to crying wolf or the alarm bell that keeps going off at a departmental store and shoppers become immune to it.”

Dr Tharmaseelan added that the public must remain vigilant against this unseen enemy at all times.

While members of the public have been slapped with RM1,000 fines for not wearing face masks or not wearing them properly, several politicians have been pictured in recent times failing to observe physical distancing while others have not been donning face masks.

To that, Dr Tharmaseelan said: “Notwithstanding who they are, they should all be wearing masks, us included.”

“Politicians want to show the people where they are, they want to show their faces. That, however, doesn’t empower them not to wear face masks.”

“It’s not just politicians here but we see it happening among politicians abroad as well. They believe they need to be seen thus they don’t want to cover their faces but in this particular period, where life and safety are of upmost concern, politicians should not be given the freedom to break the rules,” he added.

He added every Malaysian should continue to adhere to the SOPs, wear face masks, maintain physical distancing and practise good hygiene.

Here’s the round-up of The News Normal today.

HEFTY FINES FOR THOSE WHO SELL FACE MASKS ABOVE RM1

Companies that sell face masks about the ceiling price of RM1 will be fined RM500,000 or face a RM250,000 compoud.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi said individuals guilty of the same offence will be fined RM100,000, face three-year imprisonment, or will be compounded RM50,000 under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011 (Act 723).

WHY THE SILENCE IN APANDI ALI, GOPAL SRI RAM AND WAN AHMAD FAYHSAL ISSUES?

Burger stall operator Mohd Asri Hamid’s allegations make authorities act but in the cases of former Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, prominent lawyer Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram and Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal, the powers-that-be have remained silent.

M-LEAGUE TO RESUME ON AUG 26

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is scheduled to resume on Aug 26, minus fans at the stands.

He said the decision was made based on the advice of the Health Ministry and that the organisers must ensure all standard operating procedures are adhered to.

INAUGURAL EVENT TO SPARK SELANGOR GOLF TOURISM

Tourism Selangor has joined forces with Liberty Golf Services to stage the inaugural Selangor Golf Classic.

The amateur tournament is on Sept 29 and 30 at two courses – The Mines Resort and Golf Club and Kota Permai Golf and Country Club.

For more information, log on to libertygolf.com.my/SGC2020.