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The Malaysian Bar has expressed its concern over excessive sentences and cases of disparity regarding those who have been caught violating the movement control order (MCO).
Malaysian Bar president Salim Bashir urged the Court to be more compassionate when handing out sentences. He reminded the courts that the offence of MCO violation is not of a criminal nature, which means that the courts should prioritise efforts to reform offenders instead.
He also noted that there were cases of disparity in sentencing between ordinary people and those with influence.
While acknowledging that the range of sentences is well within the boundaries of law, those sentences must still be exercised reasonably to prevent any travesty of justice.
He notes that the Courts must administer justice with compassion and give due consideration to all mitigating factors that gave rise to the offence.
It is justice that we must pursue and not simply punishment.Salim Bashir, President of Malaysian Bar
Since the beginning of the MCO until 25 April 2020, a total of 20,011 people have been arrested for violating the MCO. It is not known how many of these people have been imprisoned.
Additionally, prisons are a crowded place and adding more violators to jail would make it more difficult to contain the transmission of Covid-19, a concern that was echoed by the Prison Department at the beginning of the MCO.
While violating the MCO should not be taken lightly, the Court is urged to proceed with fairness and equality.
See the full statement here:
Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.