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Don't jail MCO offenders

#NSTletters What would be the appropriate sentence for offences under the MCO?

10/4/2020 2:15:00 AM

NSTletters What would be the appropriate sentence for offences under the MCO?

Based on World Prison Brief data, Malaysia’s prison population stands at 74,000 (December 2019).

Civil rights groups and lawmakers responded that privately-run prisons was not the solution to prison overcrowding. It was argued that the solution would be to re-look sentencing policies as well as legislation removing judicial discretion and imposing minimum sentences. Admittedly, sentencing is not easy.

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Lawyers will recall what was said by Court of Appeal Judge Abdul Malik Ishak: “It is not easy to sentence an accused person appropriately benefiting the nature and circumstances of the offence. But an accused person who chooses to commit a crime must be held accountable and be responsible for the resulting evil and he deserves to be punished. The sentence meted out should adequately reflect the revulsion of the citizens for the particular crime committed. The purpose of sentencing is seen not only as a punishment to the accused person, it is also seen as a public denunciation of the criminal act in question.”

What would be the appropriate sentence for offences under the MCO? Another Court of Appeal Judge, Shaik Daud, had this to offer as advice to sentencing courts: “In deciding the appropriate sentence a court should always be guided by certain considerations. The first and foremost is the public interest. In that context the interest of justice should no doubt take into account the interest of the offender. But it is often forgotten that the interest of justice must also include the interest of the community.”

What public interest is, however, varies according to the time, place and circumstances of each case including its nature and prevalence. What may be of public interest in one place may differ from another.I would have therefore thought that “according to [prevailing] time, place and circumstances”, an on custodial sentence would be in the interest of the public for violation of the MCO. While the public in general cannot fathom the worst act of indiscipline by the MCO violators, it is just as unfathomable that the violators should be sent to over crowded prisons, making social distancing impossible.

Non-custodial sentences are available under the law as alternative options to a sentence of imprisonment. Such sentences are equally effective in holding offenders accountable and responsible for the offences committed. There are several alternatives under the lA conditional discharge is commonly known as a good behaviour bond. For minor infractions of the law or compelling mitigating circumstances, the court does no more than give an admonition or a caution to the offender.

The court may alternatively discharge the offender conditionally on a bond of good behaviour; the conditions imposed are geared towards ensuring the offender practices good behaviour during the period of the bond.The second offers a variation of the bond of good behaviour under section 294. However, the offender has to be convicted first before a bond of good behaviour is considered under section 294. Section 294 is applicable to offences of a more serious category where a record of the offending is necessary. The third alternative is found under section 293(1)(e). It is only applicable to youthful offenders — those who are convicted of an offence punishable by fine or imprisonment who is of or above the age of 18 and below the age of 21.

Community service means any work, service or course of instruction for the betterment of the public at large and includes, any work performed which involves payment to the prison or local authority. The Community Service Order (CSO) requires the youthful offender to perform community service, not exceeding 240 hours in aggregate.

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In summary, the CPC does provide for non-custodial sentences at the option of the court. Under current circumstances, the public have no greater interest than that the violators of the MCO be sentenced to be “quarantined” at home.HAFIZ HASSANBukit Baru, Melaka

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times Read more: New Straits Times »

Charity works In the first place , they are not civilised people. They are stubborn and stupid. The best way is to ask them to participate in helping to clean up the covid19 waste PPE or garbage. They should not be allowed to go home. Put them all at quarantine camp. Community service as volunteers for the frontliners (under supervision of course).. the frontliners need more help and the violators seem to not mind risking their lives by going out.. I think the idea itself will stop a lot of people from violating the MCO rules

Yg sengaja - rotan terus dan kurung kat mana2 pulau Hukum diorg urus jenazah mangsa Covid 19 tanpa PPE Yes it is!!! Lock em up. Community service. Social service Community works Sapu jalan 🧹 & angkut sampah 🗑 It should be meted out on a case-by-case basis: from sneeking out purely for gourmet treats to personal emergencies to care for others to relieve psychological pressure built up inside, etc. Authorities must acknowledge that MCO is psychologically unhealthy esp to the depressed.

Community work + fine. Jailing someone over this destroys his future and cost the govt $$. A rm1k fine, dock points from driving licence and community service to pick up rubbish from parks and beaches once a week for 3 months. If teenagers, parents get fined rm500 for their neglect. Home detention. Put a device tracker on their hand and they must report to the police at an assigned time. Lastly after the MCO, get them involved to clean and sanitise the affected areas.

Higher compound JAIL...LOKAP is the best and only way to teach this people. Sorry NST....there is NO OTHER WAY. Offenders need to be taught a LESSON. Duduk diamdiam di RUMAH atau LOKAP....thats it NO other k. RM2000 fine Well seeing they like being out, fine then RM1k. Then assign to community service for 2 weeks at hospitals or part of the disinfecting teams. If they don’t do community service then RM10k fine or jail. Repeat offenders pay RM5k and report for community service.

Jailing might 'encourage' more ppl to violate MCO, especially those who r 1) hungry & want free jail food 2) having turmoils or violence at home therefore they need to escape from home. Community work. Cleaning hospitals after COVID19 dies down and serving coffee, tea and snacks to the forntliners. In jail has to provide food do help on desensitisation work 100% much better

Jailing might burden our penitentiary system. Since perpetrators like to stay outside, make them distribute food & necessities to the needy. we can donate but we dare not go out as we are scared of the virus. Bersihkan sampah2. Cat bangunan atau tembok2. Cuci toilet awam etc. For a certain period. Community work

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