KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 20 — Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today that he would postpone the tabling the amendments to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 or Act 342 to the next sitting, citing concerns over several aspects of the Bill that could prompt public non-compliance.
The decision was reached after prolonged engagement with MPs both from the government and Opposition parties since last week. Many had voiced their opposition to the harsher penalties proposed under the Bill, which they said could spark backlash and civil disobedience.
Khairy told the Dewan Rakyat that “substantive” issues regarding the Bill had received bipartisan support, but the delay took into account tethering matters that needed more time to be addressed.
“With regards to the amendments of Act 342 it is crucial and important that we get public support and compliance because this involves public health measures not only to deal with Covid-19 but any infectious diseases,” he said.
“As such, I have tabled to the select committee with regards to all the details to the amendments and guidelines for them, and we have also listened to experts… and the select committee have unanimously agreed to delay the amendments, not because they are not supportive of it in principle or that substantive aspects of the legislation were supported, just that we need more time to address several key issues,” the minister added.
“I agree with the view because this Act is extremely important so that we get public compliance, or public adherence. If we vote it today but the Bill does not get bipartisan consensus, we will have a problem with compliance because we can’t agree on the matter.”
Source: Malay Mail