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Breaking quarantine a jailable offence under Act 342, warns Dr Sim
Posted on : 20 May 2020  Source of News: The Borneo Post

KUCHING: Individuals classified as persons-under-surveillance (PUS) who violate their quarantine order either at home or their hotel room would face legal action, said Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

He said those caught disobeying the compulsory 14-day quarantine would be prosecuted under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342).

“In the Sarawak Gazette, we have passed a law under Act 342. Therefore those who violate the quarantine directive are considered committing a criminal offense and can be jailed,” he said during the daily Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) press conference on Covid-19 yesterday, when asked on actions to be taken against those who violated their quarantine order.

Under Act 342, offenders could be fined not more than RM1,000 or jailed not more than six months, or both, if convicted.

“I hope Sarawakians would remain good (cooperative) as they are, and that is why we have been having zero positive cases (for the past several days) till now. This is a time when everybody needs to help each other,” Dr Sim added.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, who also spoke, said there had been no case thus far where those under quarantine had violated Act 342.

“So far, Sarawakians have been very obedient because they also worry about their health. So we thank them for their cooperation.

“So far so good, but you never know. That’s why we put it (Act 342) in place. We hope we would not need to enforce it because we just need your cooperation and understanding on the purpose of your quarantine,” he said.

On the wave of people starting to come out to public places since the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) was enforced in Sarawak, Uggah said SDMC through its enforcement team would be taking the soft approach in reminding the public to observe the standard operating procedure (SOP).

He was commenting on the observation that many people had failed to adhere to the social distancing requirement under the SOP, as well as bringing young children and elderly family members – considered the most vulnerable group – to crowded public places.

“Up to today we are taking the ‘advising’ approach, where we will advise and remind them. But as we move closer to the CMCO deadline of June 9, if they still ignore the SOP, then the force of the law will be taken against them. This will be up to the police,” Uggah said.