PETALING JAYA: Authorities have been criticised for their confusing definitions and uneven enforcement of standard operating procedures (SOP) in the fight against Covid-19.

Activists and stakeholders want the government, particularly the National Security Council, to ensure the SOP is clearly defined instead of leaving it up to individual interpretation by law enforcers.

The issue came to light recently when a social media user tweeted that his father was issued a RM1,000 compound for failing to register using the MySejahtera app while refuelling at a petrol kiosk.

Senior Minister (Defence) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob eventually clarified this was not necessary unless the customer enters the convenience store to pay, or if he goes to the surau or the toilet.

Alliance for Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said it was only through clear-cut definitions of the SOP that the law can be fulfilled. He noted there had been some confusion over how the SOP was being enforced.

Apart from the issue of whether a customer is required to scan the MySejahtera QR code, there is also the question of whether two persons in the same vehicle are allowed to sit together in front.

“It begs the question, where the intent and enforcement of the regulation is clearly explained to law enforcers,” he said.

National Patriots Association public communications director Kapt (Rtd) Dr Wong Ang Peng proposed the government give at least a four or five-day grace period before the SOP is enforced. He said enforcers “need not be high handed in issuing summons”.

“Enforcers can politely remind people to abide by the SOP. Malaysians are generally law abiding,” he told theSun.

Consumers Association of Penang member Uma Ramaswamy said the government should also consult stakeholders as their businesses and lives would be affected.

“If this is not done, people will eventually get fed up. Consultation is key,” she said.

Uma also pointed out that when announcing a new set of SOP, the government does not say if it has been amended from a previous version or an entirely new set.

Apart from the issue of scanning the MySejahtera QR code at a petrol kiosk and whether two persons can occupy the front seat in the same car, joggers and cyclists were also left in the dark on whether they could continue with their recreational activities during the conditional movement control order.

In response, the government eventually clarified that non-contact sport and centralised training for athletes were allowed in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

Ismail Sabri was also quoted by Bernama as saying that not more than 10 people are allowed to participate together in individual sport activities, e-sports, non-contact sports and outdoor sports.