by BERNAMA / pic by AFP
KUALA LUMPUR – Of late cases involving instafamous or celebrities violating standard operating procedures (SOPs) to curb the spread of COVID-19 have become a hot topic in the society, with majority of the public seeking appropriate punishment to be imposed on the offenders.
But is fine alone enough to serve as a lesson to the offenders, as well as to deter others from doing the same?
Lawyer Adi Zulkarnain Zulkafli opined that if a lenient sentence is imposed, it will have a bad impact or perception on the legal system.
He said it is apt that an appropriate punishment which commensurate the offence is imposed to make the general public confident that no special treatment is given to celebrities or the instafamous.
“The Instafamous and celebrities in this country can be considered as ‘public figures’. Their behaviour, as well as their personality, influence their followers or fans.
“Therefore, a heavier punishment should be imposed on them to convey the message that there is no ‘double standard’,” he told Bernama.
He said by meting a harsher punishment, it would make the general public to think twice about violating the SOP, especially the celebrities who would be given wide coverage by the media.
Adi Zulkarnain said that a punishment is intended to serve as a lesson to offenders so that they will not repeat their mistake.
Last April 20, instafamous Iram Naz Hafiz Sabir Muhammed and her husband, Azharique Shah Abdul Jalil, were sentenced to a day in jail and RM2,500 fine each by the Magistrate’s Court here for giving false information to the police for an inter-state travel.
Celebrity Neelofa, or whose real name is Noor Neelofa Mohd Noor, was fined RM20,000 for violating the SOP during her marriage solemnisation ceremony, and also for inter-state travel, while her husband, Muhammad Haris Mohd Ismail, was compounded RM10,000 for also violating procedures on inter-state travel.
On May 4, an instafamous was fined RM1,500 for not wearing a face mask in a raya video which was uploaded on a social media. A few policemen were also featured in the video.
Another lawyer, Siti Nor Syahidah Ismail, also shared Adi Zulkarnain’s views, saying that a harsher punishment should be imposed on the instafamous or celebrities because their action could influence their followers or fans to do the same.
“Sometimes, the public looks upon the instafamous as VVIPs, people who can escape punishment, despite their action likely to cause problems to others.
“Remember, nobody is above the law,” she added.