JOHOR BARU: A maximum compound of RM1mil could be issued to companies, agencies and other organisations for flaunting Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOP), after an amendment has been made under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act (Act 342).
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that the government is looking into amending Act 342 to give higher penalties to organisations, including those from the government sector and individuals that have failed to adhere to SOP.
“The maximum compound that could be issued once the Act has been amended would be RM1mil for organisations, including companies and government agencies. However, it will be based on a set of strict guidelines.
“This does not mean that a RM1mil compound would be given to all, but we will look at each individual case. The spirit behind this is to deter repeated offences among big companies. For example, factories that continue to have Covid-19 clusters, while also raking in profits in the billions annually.
“However, for individuals, we will maintain the amount as in the Emergency Ordinance of RM10,000,” he said during RTM’s ‘Bicara Naratif Khas' show here on Sunday (Dec 12).
He said that the strict guidelines would also ensure that the compounds issued would be fair for all and taken into consideration the economic situation of those involved.
“We do not want the same thing to happen last time, where stall owners also received hefty punishment. The compound would be fair and will also take into consideration if it’s a repeated offence,” he said.
During the one-hour show, the Minister also admitted the shortcomings and mistakes of the government’s 100-day Aspirasi Keluarga Malaysia and its organiser, Shared Prosperity Delivery Unit (Sepadu).
“We are disappointed with what happened in the 100-day Aspirasi Keluarga Malaysia event. An event that was supposed to celebrate the government’s achievements, but was tainted by the failure to follow SOP.
“We admit that there are shortcomings and that mistakes have been made. That is why we issued a compound. Although it may seem weird for a government to issue a compound to its own agency, a mistake is still a mistake,” he said.
On Saturday (Dec 11), Sepadu was fined RM1,000 for violating Covid-19 physical distancing rules during the four-day event that began on Dec 9 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
He noted that as the Emergency Ordinances have been revoked since Dec 8, the maximum compound that could be issued until an amendment has been made to Act 342 is RM1,000.
“There are people who asked why wasn’t a heavier penalty of RM40,000 or RM50,000 were given as we did previously. This is because the maximum compound is now RM1,000 as the Emergency Ordinances have been revoked.
“We will wait until an amendment has been made under Act 342 for us to be able to give a heavier compound,” he said.
On Wednesday (Dec 8), the Dewan Negara had unanimously approved the motion to revoke seven Emergency Ordinances after it was tabled by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin and debated by six Dewan Negara members.
The revocation approved on Wednesday affects the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021; the Emergency (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021; the Emergency (Employees’ Minimum Standards of Housing, Accommodations and Amenities) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021; and the Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2) Ordinance 2021.