Custody sentence for contravening MCO not compulsory

I refer to your article that community service may not be an appropriate sentence.

Pursuant to the Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan 2020 (movement control order), regulation 11(1) states that the penalty is a fine not exceeding RM1,000 or imprisonment of not more than six months, or both.

However, the presiding judge or magistrate, on a plea of guilt, can order a person to be bound over, pursuant to Section 294 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) for first-time offenders.

The judge or magistrate will take into consideration the age, health, mental condition, trivial nature of offence and extenuating circumstances during which the offence was committed, subject to a bond, with or without sureties.

Further, Section 294 A (c) of the CPC states that the magistrate can impose conditions to a bond of good behaviour, such as the person’s employment, residence, alienation and any other conditions that the court may think it is desirable to impose.

It can be argued such conditions in Section 294 a(c) of the CPC can include a condition on community service, rather than a custodial sentence, which will only result in overcrowding of prisons and lock-ups.

R Thayakugan is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.