Emergency ordinance made law, offenders face RM5 mil fine, 10 years’ jail

It bars legal action from being brought, instituted or maintained against govt in enforcing emergency order

KUALA LUMPUR – The Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 has been enshrined as federal legislation, giving wide-ranging powers to the government to enforce the emergency order. 

It has been listed as a federal gazette, uploaded to the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ e-Federal Gazette website. 

Stipulated under Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah’s signature in the ordinance is that “it is to be laid before Parliament pursuant to Clause 3 of Article 150 of the federal constitution”.

The ordinance, which was promulgated by the Agong pursuant to Article 150, is deemed to have come into effect on January 11, the day the emergency proclamation was made.

Specifically, Section 3 of the ordinance relates to the power to take temporary possession of land, building or movable property, and Section 4, to demand for use of resources.

The ordinance gives powers to the government to fine up to RM5 million any person who contravenes these sections, or fails to comply with any demand or direction of the Agong or any person authorised by the king.

Offenders may also face imprisonment not exceeding 10 years.

The ordinance bars legal action from being brought, instituted or maintained in any court against the government and any appointed person carrying out in good faith the provisions in the said legislation.

The offences under the ordinance include contravening authorisation by the Agong for the temporary possession of any land, building or movable property, to be used in any manner that His Majesty or any authorised person believes expedient. 

It is also an offence to not comply with demand for the use of any resources, including human, facilities, utilities and assets, for any purpose deemed necessary. 

Any compensation for the use of these properties or resources will be assessed by an authorised person, and cannot be challenged. 

Under the gazetted ordinance, the armed forces have all the powers of police as provided for under the Criminal Procedure Code, in addition to powers under the Armed Forces Act 1972.

Election to Parliament, state assemblies

As long as the emergency is in force, the requirement to fill vacancies in the Dewan Negara and Dewan Rakyat within 60 days, as per the constitution, does not have effect. 

Any appointment to the Senate and any election for vacant seats in the lower house will only be made within 60 days of the date that the emergency proclamation is revoked or annulled. 

Similarly, for state assemblies, no elections will be held for any vacancies until a date that the Agong thinks appropriate after consultation with the respective heads of state. 

The ordinance cancels all parliamentary and state assembly sittings, while the provisions of summoning, proroguing and dissolution shall not have effect until a date deemed appropriate by the king.

Power to make regulations

The ordinance states that as long as the emergency is in place, the Agong may make regulations, as may be necessary or expedient. 

“This is for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of this ordinance,” it said.

It also specifies that the powers given under the ordinance is in addition to, and not in derogation from, the powers already granted under other written laws. 

“In the event of any conflict or inconsistency between the provisions of this ordinance and any other written law, the provisions of this ordinance shall prevail, and the other written laws shall be deemed to be superseded to the extent of the conflict or inconsistency.”

By : Amar Shah Mohsen – THE VIBES

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