Monday, April 06, 2020

MADPET:须包括卫部 ·吁设特委会抗疫(Sin Chew) - Do not use National Security Council Act, Health Ministry should lead?

2020-03-25 09:39:19 
MADPET:须包括卫部 ·吁设特委会抗疫









作者 : 吕韦翰
文章来源 : 星洲日报 2020-03-25  - Sin Chew, 25/3/2020
A rough Google Translation from Chinese to English)
MADPET: Must include the Ministry of Health 

hot spot (Kuala Lumpur, 24th) The Malaysian Organization Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET) called on the government to set up a special committee, and the committee must include the Ministry of Health to combat the domestic coronavirus (coronal disease) epidemic.

Promote the National Security Council not to handle

In its statement, the organization also urged the National Security Council (MKN) not to exceed its authority to deal with the fight against the epidemic, referring to the Ministry of Health as the primary department to fight the epidemic and guide the people.

The organization stated that the council should not use the 2016 National Security Council Decree to respond to this outbreak.

The organization pointed out that in the past few days, the council seems to be making all important decisions and arrangements.

The mobile phone message sent by the Ministry of Health to remind the public has been replaced by the National Security Council.
The organization also questioned whether Prime Minister Datuk Seri Muyuddin and some current MPs (former members of the Pakatan Harapan) forgot to promise that the decree would be abolished in the last general election, and why the National Security Council is now allowed to use the decree.

The organization stated that the 1988 Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act is a decree suitable for responding to the current situation, and that the department responsible for the decree is actually the Ministry of Health. Oppose the dispatch of troops

Oppose the dispatch of troops

In addition, the organization also opposed the government's launching of armed forces and stated that if there are not enough police or law enforcement personnel to handle the situation, there are many other options.

For example, law enforcement personnel and volunteers who have retired in recent years, and other civil servants who are not involved in providing "basic services" in various departments.

The organization stated that Article 5 of the Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act 1988 states that police, customs and immigration officials, and officials of other government departments and agencies should provide any assistance that authorized officials may request; no mention is made of this And the armed forces, so the organization strongly opposes the participation of the armed forces in this operation.

Therefore, the organization once again called for the repeal of the 2016 National Security Council Decree and the dissolution of the National Security Council established under the Act.

Author: Lu Weihan Article Source: Sin Chew Daily 2020-03-25

Special Task Force Maybe, But Not The National Security Council, Under The Draconian NSC Act, To Assist Health Ministry Deal With Covid-19 Situation(MADPET)

Media Statement – 23/3/2020

MADPET (Malaysians against Death Penalty and Torture) is perturbed that the Malaysian government may have quietly and wrongly resorted to using the draconian National Security Council Act 2016(NSC Act) in this combat to curb and defeat the Covid-19 threat.

In the past few days, the National Security Council (or Majlis Keselamatan Negara (MKN)) under the NSC Act, seem to now be making decisions and issuing orders related to the Covid-19 related issues. The Ministry of Health’s authority may be ousted by the National Security Council.

The now Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, and the several Members of Parliament (formerly from PH) may have forgotten their promises before the last General Elections to abolish, not repeal, this National Security Council Act 2016(NSC Act).

Phone alerts and messages, previously seem to have come from the Ministry of Health (MOH) seem to be now coming from the National Security Council (MKN).

The NSC may be wrongly taking over power and control from the Ministry of Health, who is really the  responsible Ministry under the Prevention And Control Of Infectious Diseases Act 1988(PACID Act).

Change Minister if Unhappy, but do not take over power of Ministry of Health

There is no problem for the Prime Minister, the Malaysian Cabinet or even the Parliament setting up any special task force or Cabinet Committee, to assists and do the needful to assist the Ministry of Health but certainly not the National Security Council, formed under the National Security Council Act 2016(NSC Act).

Ministry of Health is NOT even in the National Security Council

Such a National Security Council which is very specific about its composition, and does not even include the Ministry of Health.

The members of the National Security Council, according to the Act is only the Prime Minister as Chairman, the Deputy Prime Minister as Deputy Chairman, the Minister charged with the responsibility for defence, the Minister charged with the responsibility for home affairs, the Minister charged with the responsibility for communication and multimedia, the Chief Secretary to the Government, the Chief of Defence Forces and the Inspector General of Police. The Minister of Health is not in the National Security Council, and neither is the Director General of Health.

Further, this NSC Act should not even come into play as this is not a ‘national security’ situation as envisaged or covered by that NSC Act.

Malaysia already have a law for this specific situation or concern, and there is no need to resort to any other Acts including the National Security Council Act(NSC Act).

Prevention And Control Of Infectious Diseases Act 1988(PACID Act) – the applicable law

At present, Malaysia is responding to the Covid-19 threat by resorting to that specific Act, that is meant to deal with this kind of situation, being the Prevention And Control Of Infectious Diseases Act 1988(PACID Act).

Pursuant to this Act, 2 Orders were issued being Prevention And Control Of Infectious Diseases (Declaration Of Infected Local Areas) Order 2020(PU(A) 87/2020) and Prevention And Control Of Infectious Diseases (Measures Within The Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020(PU(A) 91/2020.

The Ministry responsible under the Prevention And Control Of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 is reasonably the Ministry of Health, and as such the Minister of Health. If the Prime Minister choses, the Prime Minister can have a cabinet reshuffling, remove the current Minister and appoint a new Minister, or alternatively put himself in charge of the Health Ministry.

Whilst the first Order(PU(A) 87/2020) declares the whole of Malaysia as being the ‘infected local area, the second Regulations(PU(A) 91/2020) lays out in detail what are the restrictions in place, which also includes what businesses/agencies and premises are allowed to operate during this period, being only those that are providing essential services, whereby the Schedule provides a detailed list.

For  ‘(2) Any premises not providing essential services may be opened provided that the owner or occupier of the premises obtains the prior written permission of the Director General and the Director General may impose any conditions as he thinks fit.’ The schedule listing ‘essential services’ in item 22 states ‘22. Any services or works determined by the Minister as essential or critical to public health or safety’

As is most clear, any exemptions will need the ‘prior written permission of the Director General’, and the Act is clear that this refers to the Director General of Health.

It is sad that the law is broken now, when other Ministers or government bodies, possibly without even the ‘written permission of the Director General’ are seen to be exempting and allowing some premises that do not clearly fall within the detailed list of ‘essential services’ to continue operate.

Law Breaking by Other Ministers, Ministries and Government Agencies?

One example of this is when the Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali was reported saying that workers in the plantation and commodities sector have been exempted from the Movement Control Order and are allowed to resume their work activities (Bernama, 19/3/2020). There is a question of whether the Minister even obtained the required ‘prior written permission of the Director General’, which should also include conditions.

Likewise, some companies may also be seeking exemptions from other Ministries and even Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), which is wrong, as any permission or exemptions must only be sought from the Director General of Health.

Additional Restrictions Permissible But Not Anything in Violation of PACID Order/Regulations

Whilst the government, being the Federal government, State government and the Local Government, may rely on other laws to impose additional restrictions, they should never do anything that countermands, undermine or violate the orders/regulations made by the Prevention And Control Of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.

Use of Armed Forces Wrong and Violation of Law

MADPET opposes the use of the Malaysian Armed Forces, and state that if there is insufficient police and/or enforcement officers to deal with the situation, there are so many other options available like the using of recently retired enforcement officers, voluntary corps, and all other public servants in Ministries and Departments not involved in the provision of ‘essential services’.

Section 5 of the PACID Act also provides that, ‘Police, customs and immigration officers and officers from other government departments and agencies shall render such assistance as any authorized officer may request for the purpose of enabling him to exercise the powers vested in him by this Act or the regulations made under this Act.’ There is no mention of the armed forces.

Deterrent Sentence Under PACID Act – Prison terms to Directors, Owners – not Compounds or fines?

The Prevention And Control Of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 should be used against all violators of this law, whereby the penalty now is in respect of even a first offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to fine or to both, and the penalty is higher for repeat offenders.

For companies that violate the Act, and continue operating, prosecution shall be taken against all Directors and owners, not just the Company, and a prison term would be a more effective deterrent, than mere fines. Fines or compounds against companies, that continued operating, exposing workers (and their families) to the threat of Covid-19 may be simply inadequate.

Names of the perpetrators, especially companies, should be disclosed and not ‘hidden’ so as not to affect the name and reputation of businesses.

It was reported that an unnamed construction company was allowed to compound their offence by paying RM50, 000 for violating the PACID restrictions of not operating during this period, but no action was taken under the PACID Act. The compound was issued under Section 70 (13) of the Road, Drainage and Building Act 1974 (Act 133). (Star, 19/3/2020)

Violators of the PACID Act and Regulations in place to combat Covid-19 must be prosecuted under that law and not some other law, and compound should not be offered to perpetrators. They should all be charged and tried in open court.

MADPET reiterates its call for the abolition of the draconian National Security Council Act 2016; and for the dissolution of the National Security Council formed under this Act;

MADPET also calls for the setting up of a Cabinet or Parliamentary Committee, which shall include the Health Ministry, to assist the Health Ministry implement the orders and restrictions imposed pursuant the Prevention And Control Of Infectious Diseases Act 1988(PACID Act); and

MADPET urges that human rights be respected and protected at all times.

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

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