The movement control order to contain the spread of Covid-19 will be in place until April 14.

PETALING JAYA: The chief judges of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak have directed court officials to inform them of any judicial review applications or criminal appeals from those challenging charges related to the movement control order (MCO).

The order came from Chief Judge of Malaya (CJM) Azahar Mohamed and Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak (CJSS) Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim.

Following this, Federal Court chief registrar Ahmad Terrirudin Mohd Salleh sent the order to High Court deputy registrars and senior assistant registrars in a letter dated today and sighted by FMT.

“The matter must be brought to the attention of the CJM and CJSS so that dates for all appeals related to MCO offences and judicial review applications be fixed on an urgent basis and in open court,” Terrirudin said.

Yesterday, retired judge Mohd Hishamudin Yunus said High Court judges could immediately review the cases of offenders who are sentenced excessively for violating the MCO, which is aimed at checking the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

“The judge can call up a case on his own even after reading a case in the newspapers. There is no need to wait for a revision or appeal,” he told FMT.

Hishamudin, who retired as a Court of Appeal judge, said such power was provided for under Sections 31 and 35 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 and Sections 323 and 325 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

He was responding to the case of two labourers who were caught fishing during the MCO and sentenced to three months’ jail by a magistrate’s court in Sungai Siput, Perak.

Chin Chee Wei and Chong Poh Wah, who pleaded guilty to the offence, said they were only trying to put food on the table for their families.

Lawyers have been urging the police to offer MCO offenders police bail and to ask them to go to court later if the public prosecutor decides to frame charges.

They said magistrates could also impose a minimal fine, a day’s jail or bind them over for good behaviour.

Alternatively, they said, offenders could be given tickets to pay a compound fine not exceeding RM1,000.