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MCO: Courts impose non-custodial sentences in wake of Covid-19 fears

KUALA LUMPUR (April 7): Courts in several states yesterday meted out penalties in the form of fines of RM300 to RM1,000 and community service on offenders of the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Several individuals who were given jail terms of between three and seven days were ordered to serve their sentence from the dates of their arrests.

This trend is in line with the call by Chief Justice Tan Sri Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat on Sunday that judicial officers consider the problem of Covid-19 fears in prisons when sentencing MCO violators.

However, Tengku Maimun said the courts could still use their discretion to decide in accordance with the provisions of the law.

Prior to this, some courts had jailed offenders for between several days and three months, apart from imposing fines, for breaching the MCO and preventing public servants from discharging their duties during the MCO period.

Some offenders were also ordered to perform community service programmes for three months.

Prison Department director-general Datuk Seri Zulkifli Omar had sent a letter dated April 2 to the judicial authorities to propose that the courts consider imposing fines and community service on MCO offenders without having to send them to jail.

Zulkfili said prisons were already congested and it would become a big problem if inmates were infected with the virus.

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