Saturday, January 22, 2022

Tabling of infectious diseases bill postponed to next Parliament sitting

This follows discussions on the issue with the prime minister and opposition.

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Amendments to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) which were to be discussed and decided today have been postponed to the next Parliament sitting.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the decision was made after discussions with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, and taking into account the current flood situation in the country.

“According to Standing Order 62 of the Dewan Rakyat, I propose that the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Amendment) Bill 2021 in the order of business of the meeting today be postponed for the second and third reading to the next meeting,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat today.

The Dewan Rakyat was supposed to end last Thursday, but was extended for one more day today to discuss and pass the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Amendment) Bill 2021.

According to Khairy, the ministry had an engagement session with the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, Science and Innovation at 8am today, in line with the spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Transformation and Political Stability between the federal government and Pakatan Harapan (PH).

He said he had tabled the details on the amendments to Act 342, including the rules and guidelines required in the amendment.

“We have also heard the views of a group of experts who gave suggestions and advice to the select committee and I have been informed by the chairman of this select committee Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen (PH-Bandar Kuching) that the committee made a unanimous decision to postpone it (amendment).

“Most of the substantive matters have already been agreed, there are only a few details that still need to be discussed,” he added.

Khairy said if the bill was approved without the consensus of political parties, it would hamper the implementation of the amendments.

The bill, which includes increasing the maximum compound on individuals and corporate organisations violating the law, was tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat last Tuesday.

The amendments propose that the maximum value of compounds be increased from RM1,000 to RM1 million for a corporate body and from RM1,000 to RM10,000 for individuals.

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