Lanang MP: Act 342 Amendment Bill Not Scientific

Lanang MP Alice Lau says proposed amendments to Act 342 become irrelevant with the relaxation of many Covid restrictions as the country transitions to an endemic phase.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 – Lanang MP Alice Lau will vote against the Act 342 Amendment Bill, saying there is “no scientific basis” to support harsh penalties to control any infectious disease.

“The proposed amendments to Act 342 are considered unreasonable, have no scientific merit, and are cruel. As the country transitions to endemicity, with the lifting of many Covid restrictions despite the high case numbers, the Act 342 Amendment Bill is not relevant at all.

“I strongly agree with this (rejecting the Bill), what more with the double standards practised throughout the pandemic. I will not support amendments to Act 342 which will burden the people,” Lau said in her debate on the motion of thanks on the royal address in the Dewan Rakyat Wednesday.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng reiterated on Monday that his party and Pakatan Harapan (PH) would vote against proposed amendments to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342).

He cited proposed excessive compounds of maximum RM10,000 for individuals and RM1 million for companies, as well as “unfettered and unlimited powers” granted to the Health director-general in a new provision in the amendment Bill of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342).

Pasir Mas MP Ahmad Fadhli Shaari from PAS, which is part of the federal government, similarly said last week that he was opposed to proposed powers for the Health director-general in the Act 342 amendment Bill.

A new Section 21A of the Bill states that the Health director-general can issue any directive in “any form”, whether general or specific, to any person or groups to “take any action” for the purpose of preventing and controlling any infectious disease. 

Failure to abide by the Health director-general’s orders is considered a criminal offence.

Lau also told the government to issue a clear guideline on the use of the MySejahtera app during the endemic phase. 

“The Prime Minister’s announcement (on March 8) has left many confused about the use of MySejahtera for check-ins from April 1. I ask the government to issue a clear guideline on this so that people will not be fined for not following SOPs.”

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