Man returning from Batam disregarded stay-home notice and went to work, gets jail

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SINGAPORE: A Singaporean man who returned from Batam within the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic final 12 months initially refused to an indication a stay-home notice type, claiming he was not required to serve one.
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He lastly accepted that he had to serve a 14-day stay-home notice after Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers defined the state of affairs to him, however mentioned he didn’t need to serve one as he could be in Singapore for just a few days. 

He was ultimately issued a stay-home notice after saying he would keep at his sister’s home in Singapore, however as a substitute went to work as a safety guard at a grocery distributor almost day-after-day of his notice interval.

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Rozman Abdul Rahman, 41, was given seven weeks’ jail on Thursday (Dec 2) for one depend underneath the Infectious Diseases Act of exposing others to the chance of an infection.

The court docket heard that Rozman returned to Singapore from Batam on a ferry on Mar 20 final 12 months.

At the Singapore Cruise Centre, he initially refused to signal a stay-home notice type, claiming he had learn from the Health Ministry’s web site that the restriction would apply solely from 11.59pm that evening and was not relevant to him.

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Contrary to his declare, the Government had required all people arriving in Singapore from Mar 16, 2020, to serve a 14-day stay-home notice.

Rozman was directed to an ICA deputy group chief and senior officer, who defined the state of affairs to him and confirmed him the MOH web site detailing the journey restrictions.

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Rozman lastly accepted that the had to serve a stay-home notice if he needed to enter Singapore, explaining to the ICA officer that he didn’t need to serve one as he was going to keep within the nation for under two to three days.

He mentioned he lived in Malaysia however labored in Singapore, and would shuttle between the 2 nations. 

When requested the place he would serve the stay-home notice, Rozman wrote down his sister’s handle.

He requested the officer if there was any manner he may keep away from serving a stay-home notice, and was advised he may return to Batam, however he didn’t need to accomplish that.

After being briefed on the necessities of the stay-home notice, Rozman signed and acknowledged it, indicating that he understood that he could also be prosecuted if he failed to adjust to it.

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Instead of going to his sister’s handle, Rozman lived on the streets, first at a multi-storey automobile park behind Chinatown Point, then alongside a walkway close to VivoCity. Eventually, he moved to a homeless shelter.

He reported to work almost day-after-day throughout his stay-home notice, from Mar 20 to Mar 30 final 12 months and once more from Apr 1 to Apr 3 final 12 months. He labored as a night-shift safety officer at Grocery Logistic of Singapore in Joo Koon Circle.

He was paired with one other safety guard and didn’t inform his firm about his stay-home notice.

ICA officers visited his sister’s dwelling on Apr 3, 2020 and found that he had by no means been there and that he was not in touch together with his sister.

As he couldn’t be positioned or contacted, the officers contacted Rozman’s employer and found that he had been going to work all through his stay-home notice.

The prosecutor requested for a minimum of seven weeks’ jail, stating that Rozman had “completely disregarded SHN requirements by reporting to work for nearly the entire duration of his SHN, thereby exposing his co-workers to the risk of contracting COVID-19”.


Lawyers Azri Imran Tan and Joshua Chow from IRB Law, who acted professional bono for Rozman, requested as a substitute for a community-based sentence. They requested both for a mix of a brief detention order and day reporting order, or a positive.

They mentioned that Rozman had returned to Singapore to work out of necessity, to feed himself and his household and that he was “homeless”.

“In a cruel twist of irony, he has now been charged with and has pleaded guilty to breaching the requirements of a stay-home notice – when he had no home to go to,” mentioned the attorneys.

They mentioned Rozman had tried to do his due diligence and obtained official data from MOH in deciding to return to Singapore, and actually thought he wouldn’t have to serve a stay-home notice.

The attorneys added that Rozman couldn’t keep together with his sister as he had “a complete breakdown in relations” together with her due to a dispute over the acquisition of a flat.

He was “homeless” as his ex-wife was awarded their matrimonial flat of their 2016 divorce, and his sister had used their mom’s identify for a joint buy of one other flat.

“There were many heated disagreements and Rozman was not allowed to stay with his sister and mother,” mentioned the attorneys.

He was additionally unsuccessful in his makes an attempt to purchase or lease a flat in 2018 as his new spouse was neither a Singaporean, a everlasting resident nor a long run go to cross holder.

Because of this, Rozman and his spouse rented a small residence in Johor Bahru whereas Rozman continued to work in Singapore.

The attorneys mentioned Rozman continued to work throughout his stay-home notice as he had to assist himself and his spouse. He didn’t even have cash to top-up the pre-paid card in his mobile phone, mentioned the attorneys.

It was solely after being apprehended {that a} social employee helped Rozman to discover shelter in Hope Centre and at a church.

The prosecutor mentioned that ICA officers would have helped Rozman discover shelter if he had advised them about his state of affairs, however the defence mentioned this was “not something within the knowledge of Rozman”.

For exposing others to the chance of an infection, he may have been jailed up to six months, fined up to S$10,000, or each.

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