Despite Reduced Fine Eatery Owner Goes To Court Over 4km Trip For Provisions
Restaurant owner Shankar Santhiram said his two workers on a grocery run were unaware of the lockdown in Kayu Ara, which is part of Petaling district, and that there were no roadblocks along the way.PETALING JAYA: An owner of a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur was fined RM5,000 for a 4km drive to pick up provisions, but had it reduced to RM1,250 – but he is refusing to pay even the reduced amount because he believes that it was wrongly issued.
Restaurant owner Shankar Santhiram’s workers had gone to an Indian grocery store in Kayu Ara from the restaurant in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI), before being stopped and issued a RM5,000 fine by police on the way back.
The police issued the compound notice because they had crossed state borders without a travel permit. TTDI is in KL while Kayu Ara is in Selangor, which is currently under an enhanced movement control order.
After appealing to the health ministry, the officers reduced the compound amount to RM1,250. But Shankar is adamant about not paying the fine.
His lawyer Fatima Tahir Ali said her client’s case exemplified the difficulties people faced as confusion and discrepancies on SOPs remained between different enforcement agencies.
She told FMT that the international trade and industry ministry (Miti) had already issued small businesses authorisation to operate during lockdowns and movement control orders, including the right to cross district and state borders.
“Why then did the police issue a compound against the operator who traveled a mere 4km to buy groceries, even if district lines are crossed in a city where crossing a street can mean crossing district lines?
“Are police working on a different set of rules? Do their guidelines on SOPs supercede Miti’s authorisation? We totally agree and accept that SOPs are important and must be followed. That is precisely why they must be very clear.
“All parties must be made to truly understand the SOPs. It would appear that my client has been wrongly issued the compound,” she said.
Speaking briefly to FMT, Shankar maintained that the compound was flawed and that he will wait to be called to court.
Previously, he said the two workers who had gone on the grocery run were unaware of the lockdown in Kayu Ara, which is part of Petaling district, and that there were no roadblocks along the way.
Lockdown rules for EMCO areas stipulate that only those in essential services may travel with a valid approval letter from the ministry. Restaurants are listed as a permitted industry.
However, only one person is allowed in private vehicles except with prior police approval. - FMT
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