ICRC lauds Malaysia’s decision not to send MCO offenders to jail

KUALA LUMPUR: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has lauded the Malaysian authorities’ swift response to the use of custodial sentences as punishment for Movement Control Order (MCO) violations.

This follows a request from Prison Department director-general Datuk Seri Zulkifli Omar that the courts consider imposing fines and community service on MCO offenders without having to send them to jail as their admission into the prisons could expose inmates to Covid-19.

ICRC Regional Delegation in a statement here today said it was a commendable solution which was in line with the ICRC’s global position on the issue of overcrowding in places of detention as well as the additional risk of infection to detainees.

“Sending in more people to prison, therefore, would be counterproductive to the very intent of the MCO, that is, to stop the spread of Covid-19,” wrote the statement.

Beginning yesterday, RM1,000 compound notices will be issued to those who defy the MCO.

The statement also said that the ICRC had donated protective and hygiene items such as masks, soaps and hand sanitisers for staff and detainees in all prisons and Immigration Detention Centres and Temporary Detention Centres in the country. - Bernama