State govts face possible lawsuits for failing to comply with conditional MCO, says Azmin

  • Nation
  • Monday, 04 May 2020

PETALING JAYA: Senior Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali has urged all state governments to comply with the conditional movement control order (MCO).

He said failure to do so would expose them to possible lawsuits from the affected industries.

He said the state governments did not have the lawful authority to refuse to comply with the conditional MCO, as instructed by the Federal Government.

He said the policy has already been gazetted under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342).

He refuted allegations that the Federal Government had acted on its own without consulting the state Mentris Besar and Chief Ministers, stating that even the standard operating procedures (SOPs) were made available to them in advance at their requests.

“The Federal Government views seriously the position taken by the various state governments in refusing to execute the decision.

"Their actions are not founded on lawful authority and are contrary to the policy of the Federal Government, all the more so in view of the fact that the Federal Government's policy has already been made into law and enforceable throughout the country, ” said Azmin, who is the International Trade and Industry Minister, in a statement on Monday (May 4).

He said that there was a consensus at the National Security Council meeting on April 28 in which he was present with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“At the meeting, the findings were presented for discussion with the Mentris Besar and Chief Ministers.

“Based on the discussions during the meeting, the state governments realised that should the MCO continue until June 2020, the cumulative loss of the national income was estimated to reach RM146bil or a shortfall of 10.3% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

"This would wipe out the economic success that has been achieved for the last four years. In this regard, the meeting agreed to reopen the economic sectors during the conditional MCO beginning May 4.

“For purposes of clarification, the SOPs were given to all state governments on May 2, that is, before the enforcement of the conditional MCO,” he added.

Azmin said the decision to reopen the economic sectors under the conditional MCO was made after much consultation with the Finance Ministry, Miti, Bank Negara and Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

On May 1, Muhyiddin announced that the conditional MCO would be in place from May 4, allowing for a large number of economic and social activities to restart.

These activities are subject to strict conditions and enforcement of stringent health SOPs as the fight against Covid-19 continues.

Azmin explained that the regulations made under Act 342 were specific laws for the purpose of preventing and controlling the spread of Covid-19.

“As such, it prevails over the provisions of other written laws in respect of the prevention and control of infectious diseases.

“The conditional MCO differs from the previous MCO stages one, two, three and four, in that under the conditional MCO, there is leeway given for its implementation.

"This is to enable almost all economic sectors to restart in a controlled and prudent setting.

“The allegation that the government restarted the economy hastily is false and baseless,” said Azmin.

He said the state governments must take note of the views of various bodies, including the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) and Malay Chamber of Commerce, which insisted that it did not stop companies wanting to resume operations from May 4.

“Should the state governments refuse to co-operate in implementing Act 342, which has been gazetted into law enforceable throughout the country, the state governments may face the possibility of legal action from various parties particularly the industry players,” said Azmin.

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