Four individuals were issued RM10,000 fines each for violating the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic, in an operation in Bandar Baru Sibu Jaya, Sarawak on Saturday (13 Mar).
Among the four, two were barbershop owners — a woman and a man aged 67 and 32 respectively, who were fined for not using disposable gloves and aprons during an inspection at their premises, said Sibu district police chief ACP Stanley Jonathan Ringgit.
According to Bernama, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador said starting 11 Mar, the compound for SOP violators of the Movement Control Order (MCO) has been increased from RM1,000 to RM10,000.
The move was in accordance with the Emergency (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 which was gazetted on 25 February.
Abdul Hamid said as of 12 Mar, a total of 330 RM10,000 compounds have been issued towards individuals who did not comply with COVID-19 SOPs.
Over on Facebook, netizens have been condemning the move, saying that the RM10k fine is “ridiculous and absurd”, as people are already struggling financially during this pandemic.
One user commented on how barbers are already financially challenged since they were among the last to be allowed to operate when rules for movement control order (MCO) were relaxed.
Several users said that this rule will kill the economy and the people due to stress from thinking of ways to pay off these summonses.
Several other users opined that the government should educate the people instead of giving them hefty penalties, as the latter will saddle them with further financial burden that might even lead to bankruptcy.
Many netizens commented on how using gloves is ineffective and impractical for barbers, as it could cause occupational hazards.
One user stated that the barbers do not need gloves, and washing their hands is enough in preventing the spread of the virus, provided that they wear mask at all times.