JOHOR BAHRU – The government has to amend two acts if it wants to proceed with the proposal to increase the compound rates for violating regulations under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342).
Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the two acts are the Interpretation Acts 1948 and 1967, as well as Act 342.
“In the Interpretation Act, the compound rate should not exceed RM1,000. So, if we want to increase the compound in Act 342, it should not be different from the Interpretation Act.
“Therefore, the government has to amend the two acts and they have to be tabled in Parliament,” he told reporters after an investiture ceremony to award Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) to 350 Armed Forces veterans in Ulu Tiram here, Aug 30.
Ismail Sabri said the matter was discussed in the Cabinet meeting last week and the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan had been asked to study whether the amendment is required.
“If the amendments are required, then we will amend. But it needs a longer time because we are amending two acts and they must be brought to Parliament to be debated, and if passed, they must also be gazetted,” he said.
On Friday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in his special address on the development of Recovery Movement Control Order said he supported the Health Ministry’s proposal to increase the compound rates for offences under the Act 342 to at least two or three times the current rates.
However, he said that this matter has to be studied and Act 342 needed to be amended first.
Currently, Act 342 provides for a maximum fine of RM1,000 to those violating the standard operating procedure.
On another issue, Ismail said there was no requirement for the government to impose curfew throughout Kedah although were several new COVID-19 clusters in the state, as the government has a new approach to address such cases.
“Previously, when a case was detected, we declared the whole state. Later, we reduced it by districts, mukims and then localities. If we were to do like before (imposing curfew in the whole state or district), it will be unfair to other places which are not even related.
“So, we don’t do that anymore. If one village is affected, we only lock down the village,” he said, in response to the statement by Kedah Health and Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mohd Hayati Othman yesterday.
Dr Mohd Hayati was reported as saying that the state government had proposed to the federal government to expand the administrative Enhanced Movement Control Order in the Kedah to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was declined due to several constraints such as placement of security personnel, allocation as well as aid distribution.
In another development, Ismail Sabri said the Defence Ministry was trying to seek from the government a monthly living allowance of RM350 for all Armed Forces veterans who had received and are eligible for PJM.
“This is a way to show our concern. We know RM350 is not much but this is our appreciation to them,” he said.
Some 29,314 out of more than 121,000 Armed Forces veterans eligible for the PJM have received the medal so far.