KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian celebrity Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin and her husband, Khalid Mohamad Jiwa, were each given a fine of RM10,000 (US$2,400) for breaching COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) during a religious ceremony known as ‘tahnik’ for her newborn baby in April.
Three others including religious minister Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri and celebrity preachers Azhar Idrus and Don Daniyal, were also issued a RM2,000 fine each.
Berita Harian Malaysia quoted the Selangor police chief as saying on Thursday (May 27) that several other celebrity couples who were present at the event had also been fined.
The singer and her husband hosted the event to bless their newborn on Apr 26 at their residence in Bukit Antarabangsa, Ampang. She gave birth to her second child, a baby boy Muhammad Afwa on Apr 19.
Selangor police had opened an investigation into the religious ceremony after reports were lodged that the event was alleged to have violated COVID-19 preventive measures under Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO), which banned interstate travel among other things.
Several prominent individuals were said to have crossed state borders to attend the event at the singer’s residence.
Following the police investigation, Siti Nurhaliza issued a statement to clarify that some of her guests including the minister only dropped in briefly to say a few prayers and left soon after.
She added that the ceremony was held in three sessions to avoid overcrowding.
READ: Siti Nurhaliza says she didn’t breach COVID-19 restrictions for baby’s ceremony
READ: Commentary – Little wonder why Malaysians are angry over celebrity Neelofa’s repeated COVID-19 breaches
News about celebrities breaching health protocols has been getting a lot of attention among Malaysians. Some have expressed unhappiness that celebrities and politicians may have been allowed to get off lightly with fines, causing the perception of double standards in the enforcement of the SOPs.
Another well-known celebrity Noor Neelofa Mohd Noor, or Neelofa, has also been under the spotlight. She is facing charges for alleged breaches of the SOPs including failure to observe the movement regulation and to wear a proper face mask.
In an interview aired over the weekend, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin stated that there are no double standards when it comes to enforcing health protocols.
“We don’t care if it’s a minister or prime minister who breaks the law… (If) there is proof, then they will not be spared from the fine,” he said.
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