KUALA LUMPUR: The declaration of a state of emergency is necessary as the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) is no longer adequate to contain the worsening Covid-19 pandemic in the country, says the National Security Council (NSC).
The council, in a frequently-asked-questions (FAQ) released today, said the infections are no longer limited to certain localities and have become widespread.
The emergency, it said, is vital to allow the infection curve to be flattened more quickly and effectively.
On Saturday, Malaysia’s new Covid-19 cases hitting a record 4,029 and on Sunday (Jan, 17) 3,339 new cases was reported taking the cumulative positive cases to 158,434.
The NSC said the period of emergency consented to by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on Tuesday would give room to the government to focus on the country’s economic recovery, apart from ensuring and preserving security and public order.
The council said during this period, the King or anyone entrusted by him are the only ones permitted to make decisions on national matters.
It also noted that during a period of emergency, the government can use the private healthcare system, assets and facilities to combat any national threat.
It said Act 342, which was in use since last year, is now insufficient given the current situation.
“The emergency is the best option the government has to rope in private healthcare service providers and cut bureaucracy and the long negotiation process with the private sector,” it said.
The NSC also said during an emergency, the government, when authorised by the King, can occupy any land, buildings and movable property from any party and use it for appropriate purposes in the fight against Covid-19.
It also noted that those who fail to comply with the order may face legal repercussions under Section 9 of the Emergency Ordinance (Necessary Powers) 2021.
“Those who fail to comply with the instructions can be prosecuted and if convicted, can be fined a maximum of RM5 million or jailed for a maximum of 10 years, or both.”
The council said under Sections 3 to 5, the owners of these properties are eligible to receive compensation for the temporary ownership or use of the land, building, movable property or resources by the King.
“The law states that the assessment of compensation is to be made by the King or person designated by him only. The offer made is final and conclusive and cannot be challenged or questioned in any court.”
The NSC also said that while the nation is under the emergency period, the duties and responsibilities of the cabinet, including that of the prime minister, ministers, chief ministers or members of the state exco or state cabinets will continue to function as before.
By : Kalbana Perimbanayagam – NST