Police complete probe on Sarawak DCM face mask issue

By S. Harrish

POLICE have completed their investigation into the case of Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan walking without a face mask during a recent visit to Matu.

Sarawak police chief Datuk Aidi Ismail said police opened an investigation paper under Section 21A of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and it has been submitted to the Sarawak Director of Prosecution.

“We have actually taken action on the issue,” said Aidi in a statement today.

He also urged people to be more careful when commenting on the issue in social media as it could cause misunderstandings.

Earlier today, Awang Tengah had admitted to failing to put on his face mask during the visit, breaching Covid-19 SOPs.

He said police had contacted him over the video, which has gone viral.

In the 25-second video, Awang Tengah is seen without his mask on while walking past stalls selling food and beverages.

He claimed that prior to the video being taken, he had been wearing a face mask but had taken it off while getting a drink at a stall.

In the video, Awang Tengah is also seen handing out cash to the stall operators, prompting calls for the MACC to investigate.

Yesterday, DAP’s Batu Kitang chairman Abdul Aziz Isa had asked the MACC to determine if Awang Tengah had breached any corruption law by handing out the cash.

Awang Tengah responded saying the cash he handed out to traders was for purchases he had made from the stalls.

Abdul Aziz Isa

As he was in a hurry at that point of time, he said his special officer collected the items.

Meanwhile, Abdul Aziz said today that Awang Tengah should reveal when the police contacted him and from which station.

“Did he receive the call from the police after the event or after the 25-second video had gone viral?

“Will he need to pay in full like other ordinary people or will he be given any discounts?

“This is important because the public wants to ensure that relevant authorities take the necessary action on the DCM without fear and favour.”

He also asked why didn’t the police who escorted him warn, advise or inform him about the face mask.

“If the police who escorted him had breached their duty, will there be any disciplinary actions taken?”

Abdul Aziz said Awang Tengah should not take this issue lightly as he should be aware that wearing face masks in public spaces was the new normal.