KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 – The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has protested against the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry’s (KPDNHEP) plans to conduct random checks on the Covid-19 risk status of workers and visitors to public premises.
The doctors’ group pointed out that with the lapse of the state of emergency on August 1 last year, no other agencies have been empowered to enforce the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) except for the Ministry of Health (MOH).
“The Malaysian Medical Association sees no need for such heavy enforcement at this stage as we are in the midst of transitioning into a state of normalcy,” MMA president Dr Koh Kar Chai said in a statement yesterday.
“Such strict enforcement can even be viewed as regressive and will invite resentment from both business owners and the public. We really should be gradually moving away from restrictive policies. After two years of the pandemic, the people should, by now, know what they should be doing to protect themselves, their families and their income.”
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi said in a statement last Saturday that KPDNHEP enforcement officers would conduct random checks nationwide and take action under Act 342 if workers or patrons at public premises are found to be at high risk for Covid-19.
Act 342, however, is under MOH’s jurisdiction. KPDNHEP’s enforcement typically only covers issues like the price controls of goods.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin previously announced that the government mandate for individuals to check into public premises via the MySejahtera app would be dropped effective May 1, but said people who have tested positive for Covid-19 would still be legally required to self-isolate under their digital home surveillance order (HSO) issued on the app.
After the government scrapped its mandate for MySejahtera check-ins, several Malaysians have posted on social media about uninstalling the Covid-19 app.
The Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures Within Infected Local Areas) (National Recovery Plan) (Transition Phase to Endemic) Regulations 2022, which was gazetted by Khairy on March 30, does not specify KPDNHEP as an authorised agency to enforce Act 342.
Clause 16 states that an “authorised officer may request for any information relating to the prevention and control of infectious disease from any person or body of persons”.
However, the Regulation does not specifically compel people to keep the MySejahtera app.
The National Security Council (NSC) has also yet to release on its website any standard operating procedures on the relaxation of various Covid-19 rules effective from May 1.