PUTRAJAYA: The Emergency Ordinance will give authorities more clout to manage the Covid-19 pandemic, including directing private hospitals to take in infected patients, says Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said the Ordinance, once the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has consented to it, also allows Armed Forces personnel to arrest and lock up illegal immigrants caught entering the country via illegal routes, a move which previously could only be done by the police.
Ismail Sabri said in a scenario where buildings and hotels need to be used for quarantine purposes, the authorities could direct premises owners to do this or risk action.
Stern action would also be taken against employers who refuse to send their foreign workers for Covid-19 screening, he said, adding that the Ordinance would allow authorities to determine more deterrent penalties.
“There is a lot we can do to help deal with the pandemic. That is why the Emergency proclamation was needed, ” he said in his media briefing yesterday.
Ismail Sabri further explained that the Health Ministry is in discussions with private hospitals to propose to them to assist Covid-19 treatment of patients who are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms.
On Tuesday, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah consented to a state of emergency being proclaimed under Article 15 of the Federal Constitution.
The nationwide state of emergency until Aug 1 is to curb the Covid-19 pandemic that has reached alarming levels in the country.
On another matter, Ismail Sabri said public parks in states under the movement control order are closed for any recreational and sports activities.
He said when the government announced that activities such as cycling and jogging would be allowed during the 14 days of the MCO, it was for them to carry out these activities around their neighbourhoods only.
“Public parks will be closed during MCO. There will be no jogging or other recreational activities there because we do not want these places to be crowded.
“I hope the public will refrain from going to public parks as the authorities can take action against them, ” he said.
He also said self-service laundry premises in MCO areas would be allowed to operate, adding that the National Security Council special meeting had agreed on this after hearing complaints from the public who want this service to be allowed.
“We have agreed to allow self-service laundry to operate but operators must ensure strict SOP is followed, ” he said.
Operators must have staff on duty at the premises – which can operate from 6am to 8pm – to monitor SOP compliance.