KUCHING, Aug 15: Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii opined that issues involving mandatory facemask offenses should be addressed accordingly for the benefit of all, instead of being politicised.
Dr Yii said that while he understood and respected the different opinions on the matter, he believed that the RM1,000 fine was too steep, especially for the poor, OKUs (disabled), students, and even for those lost their jobs or suffered a reduction in income due to the poor economy.
Dr Yii also noted the current amount of RM1,000, makes up 83 per cent of the country’s minimum wage, compared to similar fines in other countries like Australia, which is AUD 200, or 6.7 per cent of their minimum wage, in Singapore, SGD 300, or 23 per cent of the proposed minimum wage (they do not have an official minimum wage), and in the UK is 100 pound, which is 13 per cent of their minimum wage, with a tier system where repeat offenders are fined even higher.
“Some quarters accused me of doing cheap politics, but what happened is that we properly came up with a proposal and discussed it with different MPs regardless of political parties to get feedback.
“We acknowledge there are people that may directly disobey this law and want to put others in danger, that is why we proposed higher penalties for repeat offenders,” he added.
“I met each and every MP one by one including those from different political parties and political divide that signed the petition. I explained to them the rationale of this policy and how a tiered system may be more equitable to the general public. The proposal also includes the government providing free and affordable face-mask especially to the poor.
“We had fruitful discussions, and many gave constructive feedback but still agree in principle and signed the petition, even those from the government bench including those from Sarawak. Currently there are 106 signatories including those in the government bench,” he said.
Dr Yii believed that this bi-partisan approach and working together in a constructive manner on issues regardless of political parties was the way forward in order for the country to grow.
“So while I respect the different opinions, and respect each view, but I urge the different political parties to properly understand the proposal and discuss it on its merits and not simply lie or try to mislead the public on the matter,” he said. –DayakDaily.