RM1,000 fine for not wearing face mask quite ‘excessive’

File photo depicting an assortment of face masks.

SIBU, August 8: Is the RM1,000 fine for not wearing face mask too excessive? Most people consider the fine as too steep while some said it depends on the situation.

The government has made the wearing of face mask mandatory in public places and crowded spaces where social or physical distancing cannot be observed effective Aug 1 in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The rule is also applicable on public transports, markets, places of worship, cinemas, all retail outlets and restaurants.

A single mother, Lim Bee Lang, 51, admitted that she simply cannot afford to pay the fine if she is caught without a face mask.

“I have no income after my husband passed away early this year. I am relying on my three children who are working to support the family. So there is no way I can afford to pay the fine if caught,” she said.

In order to ensure that she will not forget to wear a mask, Lim said she keeps several pieces in her handbag.

“I try to go out less often. But if I have to go out for marketing, I will make sure I wear the mask,” she said, agreeing that wearing face masks can help prevent the spread of the virus.

However, Lim pointed out that it should not be a “one-size-fits-all” policy but adjusted to circumstances such as level of income when penalising those who did not comply with the rule.

A factory worker, Simon Ho, 53, also considered the fine as “very excessive”.

“Think of critical factors like those who are jobless and the low income group. The RM1,000 fine is a big burden for them,” he said.

An insurance agent, Pang Chui Hua, 61, opined that the RM1,000 fine is apt in the Covid-19 red zone areas but would be excessive in the green zone areas.

“The imposition of the RM1,000 fine is good but it all depends on where one is. Take for example, if you’re in Kuching and you know that Kuching is a red zone and is caught not wearing masks, then the penalty is justified,” he said.

But if one is in Sibu where there are zero cases in as many days, Pang said being slapped with a RM1,000 fine would be excessive.

Taking another example of America, which has the highest number of cases, he said the penalty of RM1,000 is considered low.

“It’s safer to put on a mask but then if there are zero cases, the wearing of face mask will make us uncomfortable and to some poor guy, it’s a burden to them because they simply cannot afford to change a few masks per day,” he said.—DayakDaily