A hawker has alleged that he was extorted by police after failing to produce a permission letter to show that he can operate during the “total lockdown” period which was introduced to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Lim Thiam Fook, 21, alleged police officers also poured out his stew on grounds that they had to “check for drugs” after taking RM500 from him.
Thiam Fook, who runs a stew stall at a restaurant, aired their complaint during a press conference organised by Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng.
Recounting the alleged incident, Thiam Fook said they were stopped by three police personnel while driving to the restaurant in the early morning of June 2.
Thiam Fook claimed when police found out the duo did not have an approval letter from the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) to operate, they started to harass them.
The Housing and Local Government Ministry had said small-time hawkers do not need a letter from Miti and only their hawker permit would suffice to enable them to operate under the standard operating procedure (SOP).
“We have no problem if they want to check us. But because we have yet to get our Miti’s letter, they find a lot of excuses to accuse us and even suspect we have drugs.
“They even poured out the soup I have prepared to sell. When I asked why, they said they wanted to check whether we have drugs inside or not,” Thiam Fook said.
He also alleged that the officers threatened to detain them if they could not afford to pay the RM1,500 fine.
“They also checked my wallets and they saw there was quite some cash in there. So they started to imply this thing can be settled by money.
“But I pleaded with them not to take all the money as I need the them to buy food, ingredients and petrol.
“After some negotiations, they agreed to take RM500 from me instead of RM3,000,” Thiam Fook said.
He said they were held up for more than an hour between 6.45am to 8.30am.
They lost around RM400 from the soup being poured out, Thiam Fook added.
“Since we cannot continue to operate that day, we went home and cleaned everything after the cops left.
“Our stall only opened for two months. We just want to earn some money and we never thought that such things would happen,” he said.
Thiam Fook claimed that the police officers were wearing helmets and face masks and therefore couldn’t recognise their faces.
“It did not matter when they took away the RM500, but it hurt me when I saw them pour out the soup bowl by bowl,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lip Eng who accompanied the hawker at the press conference said he had contacted the Sentul district police headquarters over the complaint.
He said the Sentul police have interviewed Thiam Fook and his assistant about the incident.
However, Thiam Fook reiterated that he couldn’t recognise the officers’ faces as they were wearing face masks.
Lip Eng also provided the hawker with an RM500 aid during the press conference.
The DAP lawmaker urged anyone facing similar problems to turn to their elected representatives, adding that this will deter such alleged harassment.
He also reiterated the opposition’s call for an Independent Police Complaints of Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).
Lip Eng also suggested that stern action should be taken against the police officers.
“Do not just transfer them, we want them in jail… only then they would feel scared,” he said.
Sentul district police headquarters chief Beh Eng Lai, when contacted, said cops will issue a statement on the matter soon.
Failing to update health status on MySejahtera could land you a fine
Those working in the manufacturing sector but who fail to update their health status on the MySejahtera app could land with a fine.
This was in addition to having to use the MySejahtera app to check in at their location of work.
Harian Metro reported that a total of 31 workers were fined between RM1,500 and RM2,000 each for failing to update their health status.
Manjung district police chief Nor Omar Sappi was quoted as saying that they comprised 29 workers at an oil and gas firm and two from a chicken factory.
The fine prompted members of the public to pose multiple queries to the Manjung police’s Facebook page if they are liable to a fine for not updating their health status.
Responding to the queries, the Manjung police said the rule applied to those working in the manufacturing sector.
“This standard operating procedure (SOP) refers to the manufacturing sector and not the general SOP,” it said.
You can update your health status by choosing the “Covid-19 Status” button in the MySejahtera app.
The user will be asked if they are experiencing any Covid-19-like symptoms, whether they have gone abroad and whether they have been exposed to anyone who is suspected of being infected with Covid-19.