Malaysian health official fined for defying MCO

GERIK (BERNAMA) – Malaysia’s Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali was yesterday sentenced the maximum fine of MYR1,000, in default a month’s jail, for defying the Movement Control Order (MCO) by attending a social event and then had lunch with the attendees two weeks ago.

Perak Executive Councillor For Education, Human Capital Development, Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and civil society, Razman Zakaria, and 13 others, who included Dr Noor Azmi’s brother, Noor Azman, 57, were also fined for the same charge.

Magistrate Norhidayati Mohammad Nasroh meted out the fine after all of them pleaded guilty to the charge, which was read out simultaneously by the court interpreter.

All of them paid the fine. They were all charged with attending a gathering in an infected area for a social activity, which is a violation of Regulation 6(1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020, read together with Section 34 of the Penal Code.

They were caught doing so in a hall at Maahad Tahfiz Quran Lid Dakwah Wal Imamah, Kampung Luat, Lenggong, between 6pm and 7pm last April 17.

Malaysia’s Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali and Perak Executive Councillor for Education, Human Capital Development, Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and Civil Society, Razman Zakaria. PHOTO: BERNAMA

Norhidayati said the fine would suffice since it was the first offence for all of them and that they were all gathered there to perform the Asar prayer and distribute food to the locals.

“This is also taking into account that they were gathered there not for something meaningless, but to assist the local community in the wake of COVID-19. “However, I find that the purpose of such gathering is not an exception, as what is important is that it also pose a big risk,” she added.

According to the facts of the case, they were earlier at the Lenggong Health Clinic where Dr Noor Azmi was on an official working visit and after the event, went to Maahad Tahfiz Quran Lid Dakwah Wal Imamah to perform the Asar prayer and also distribute dried food to representatives of the local residents, before adjourning for a meal at a hall there.

An image of Dr Noor Azmi, who is Bagan Serai Member of Parliament, and Razman, who is also Perak PAS Commissioner and Gunung Semanggol State Assemblyman, eating together with the others was circulated on the social media the following day. DPP Datuk Azhar Mokhtar and Mohamad Amri Alfikri Mohamad Dasuki prosecuted, while all the accused were represented by lawyer Nor Zahari Ismail.

In mitigation, Nor Zahari said all his clients apologised to the court and the people in the country for their action.