KOTA KINABALU: The roasted wild boar seller who was fined RM50,000 for Covid-19 violations also broke many other business regulations and the high penalty slapped on him is justified, says Sabah police chief Hazani Ghazali.
Denying that the police had acted unjustly, he said the stall did not have any valid business licence to operate an eatery or as an entertainment outlet in addition to not having a permit to sell alcohol and wild boar meat.
“When my men got there, we found there were customers still consuming alcohol with karaoke activities still going on,” he told reporters at the state police headquarters in Kepayan here today.
Hazani said they received a tip-off from the public who had complained that the outlet was engaging in these activities, particularly karaoke, way into the night.
“So, when the police visited the place, we found it was true. We could have taken harsher action against the operator but chose to only advise him not to do this anymore and issued the compound.”
Rayner Longtin, who sells roasted wild boar, better known locally as “sinalau bakas”, said he was fined RM50,000 while two other friends RM10,000 each despite his explanation to the police that he was in the midst of closing shop for the day last Monday.
He said his friends were waiting to send him home but that he had to wait for the customers to finish up as he couldn’t chase them away.
Hazani, however, refuted the claim, saying the shop was not even close to calling it a day when cops arrived.
“No, the shop was not closed … the speakers were still up. They were still engaged in karaoke activities and the patrons were drinking.
“So, how can it be closed? That claim (by Rayner) is only to court sympathy. We have the photos as our evidence,” he said, adding he could not however share it with the media.
Hazani said, as a result of the incident, the police have been vilified by the public particularly on social media.
“I don’t want to blame anyone but I urge netizens not to spin issues and only listen to one side of the story – police were justified in issuing the compounds.
“We used courtesy in dealing with the matter but people even turned to provocation (in social media) against the security forces.
“We are only executing our duties as the leading agency on SOP compliance,” he said.
“Don’t create a tense situation. Please understand that we are all under pressure, even the police, so don’t spin information that is not true.”
Meanwhile, Hazani said the police have agreed to allow residents in villages under the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) in Tawau to enter and exit the affected areas.
However, he said, the residents will need to record their movements in the log books at the police control post, adding no outsiders will be allowed in except for emergencies.
This follows after peaceful demonstrations held by residents of Kampung Muhibbah Raya and Kampung Baru Pasir Putih in Tawau previously. The Sabah government had recently ended the EMCO in the second village following the protest.