Malaysians urge Najib to pick up chicken rice seller's fine for Covid-19 violations

Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak admitted he did not register his details at the restaurant. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE) - Malaysians have expressed their sympathies towards the chicken rice restaurant owner who was fined and have urged former prime minister Najib Razak to pick up the tab instead.

On Facebook, Mr Sunny Lim said it was sad the shop owner had to "pay" for Mr Najib's failure in adhering to the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).

"Sadly the shop has to bear the brunt, when it should be the other way around. Hope bossku (Najib) picks up both tabs," he said.

Mr Joe CL and a user going by @Trigger McBurn concurred that Mr Najib should help the restaurant owner pay the fine.

Compound notices amounting to RM3,000 (S$970) and RM10,000 (S$3,200) were respectively issued to Mr Najib and the chicken rice restaurant for flouting the rules.

Dang Wangi OCPD Assistant Commissioner, Mohamad Zainal Abdullah, said the Attorney-General's Chambers had returned the investigation papers for the case, which occurred at a chicken rice restaurant in Bukit Bintang on March 19.

"Yeok Wei Hao, manager of Restoran Nasi Ayam Hainan Chee Meng, will be issued a RM10,000 fine for failing to instruct Najib to scan the MySejahtera QR code or logging his entry before entering the restaurant.

"Najib will be issued two RM1,500 compounds for failing to record his temperature, as well as failing to register his entry to the restaurant," he said in a statement on Thursday (May 6).

AC Mohamad Zainal said both parties were fined for violating Rule 19 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Regulations.

"We urge the public to comply with the SOPs put in place by the National Security Council in order to fight the spread of Covid-19," he added.

In a Facebook post on March 19, Mr Najib admitted he did not register his details and said he was willing to pay a fine for his transgression.

The 67-year-old, who remains free on bail while he appeals the 1MDB conviction over which he has been sentenced to 12 years in jail, elected to use the incident to highlight other cases in which politicians allegedly broke the rules.

These include an incident when ministers allegedly travelled illegally to another part of the country to attend a wedding.

"Myself and the man on the street are investigated by police and fined by the government. But I don't know (if this will happen), if government ministers contravene the rules," Mr Najib posted on Facebook, after the penalty was announced late on Thursday.

He also accompanied his post with a screenshot of a news report with a photo of current Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin at a hotel lounge without wearing a mask.

Last month Mr Najib, who is a member of parliament for Pekan, revealed he is facing bankruptcy for allegedly failing to pay more than US$400 million (S$532.8 million) in taxes, which could lead to him losing his seat in parliament.

He was convicted last year in the first of several trials he is facing over the looting of sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Billions of dollars were stolen from the investment vehicle and spent on everything from pricey artwork to real estate, a scandal that contributed to the downfall of Mr Najib's government in 2018.

Malaysia is facing an escalating virus outbreak, and this week introduced new curbs in Kuala Lumpur and several other areas.

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