On Wednesday, 20 January, a café owner in Segamat, Johor, was fined RM1,000 for not wearing a face mask in a public place
The 29-year-old café owner was fined for failing to adhere to the Movement Control Order (MCO) standard operating procedure (SOP) at around 11am at Jalan Yayasan 3 commercial centre in Segamat.
According to Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, the compound was issued by the Segamat police COVID-19 SOP compliance task force under Regulation 16(1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2021.
"Her action of not donning the face mask could cause concern among the public," the Johor police chief was reported as saying by The Star on Thursday, 21 January.
However, the woman, Nur Izzati Aqilah Lokman, has since taken to social media, claiming that she was at a non-crowded public place
According to Nur Izzati, on the day of the incident, she had gone to her café to prepare meals for her kids and that she was there before the outlet's opening hours.
"I exited my car and went to get my youngest child from the passenger seat and there were no passers-by around me. Suddenly, a patrol car stopped and the officer issued me a compound of RM1,000 for not wearing a face mask," she was quoted as saying by New Straits Times.
"I feel this is unfair because the place was not crowded and the shops next to my café were not even open yet," she said, adding that she confronted the officer to seek an explanation.
In her tweets, Nur Izzati uploaded photos of the area, showing it was not crowded and the stores were closed. She tweeted the photos on the day of the incident at 11.39am.
According to Nur Izzati, she was fined despite the MCO SOP only requiring people to wear masks in crowded areas as announced by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
In December last year, the Defence Minister had clarified that individuals were not required to wear a face mask when they were alone in public places or if the area was not crowded.
Responding to the woman's complaint, the Johor police chief stated that there were people around when she was fined
According to Ayob Khan, police investigations showed that there were people coming from and going into the shops and premises near the café at the time of the incident on Wednesday.
"At the same time, there was an employee with the individual who was wearing a face mask. Therefore, her statement that there were no people around in the area and it was not crowded is not true," he said.
Following Ayob Khan's statement, she uploaded closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage as proof that she was wrongfully fined
In the caption of her video, that was uploaded both on Facebook and Twitter earlier today, 22 January, Nur Izzati admitted that while she "was wrong for not wearing face mask right after I stepped out of the car", all she wants is for everyone to know that she is "not lying about the fact that I was not at the crowded area".
In the CCTV footage, that's about seven minutes long and has been reviewed by SAYS, no other people are seen except police officers from the Segamat police COVID-19 SOP compliance task force.
UPDATE 23 January
The dispute continues to drag on after Johor police cast doubts on the CCTV footage evidence shared by the woman:
In another incident, officers of the Royal Malaysia Police allegedly fined grocery store workers for 'breaking SOP' by not wearing gloves: