Should we increase fines for SOP non-compliance?

Increasing the fine for SOP non-compliance may do more harm than good, especially when it is aiming is to modify behavior. The aim of compounds should be to rehabilitate rather than criminalize those who are no compliant.

SOP enforcement is just one method of behavior modification with an emphasis on regulation. Rather than large fines, it may be better to have smaller fines that are uniformly enforced across all strata of the population. A large proportion of our community are facing financial hardships and large fines will only worsen the financial difficulties. If we are worried about repeat offenders then the Act should clearly define the condition for larger penalties, for example after 3 compounded fines within a year.

We should first explore the reasons for non-compliance to any specific SOPs rather than increasing the fines. SOP non-compliance may be due to reasons that belong to systemic, structural, environmental, or individual domains.

Evidence based SOPs that have sufficient details yet easily understood and accompanied with a preceding period of health promotion will encourage higher SOP compliance.   

Prepared by Prof Dr Sanjay Rampal, 3rd November 2020

*Parts of this opinion was first published by The Star on the 1 November 2020

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