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FMM urges ministry to shelve proposed amendments to Act 342

FMM In the News: NEW STRAITS TIMES, KUALA LUMPUR, Friday, January 21, 2022 - The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has urged the Health Ministry to shelve the proposed amendments to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) as it could be detrimental to the country's economic recovery.

FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai also advised the ministry to engage with stakeholders on the matter and explain the necessities of the proposed amendments to them.

"Malaysia, as a developing country that is fuelled significantly by the private sector-driven economy, needs progressive policies and laws to stand tall globally.  

"Repressive and hostile laws which have not gone through proper regulatory risk impact assessment are going to be very damaging for the economy, especially in the post-pandemic recovery period, which is very critical for businesses and the economy.  

"As it is, the use of existing laws is not consistent most of the time. More seriously, it is not enforced fairly and has often been open to overzealous actions by the enforcement agencies.  

"Policymakers and lawmakers must be mindful of the risk of new laws which may either discourage new investments or result in the flight of existing and potential investors to more business-friendly destinations," he said in a statement today.  

Manufacturers, he said, have spent a lot of resources to implement proper safety and health management practices despite severe impacts to their businesses due to Covid-19.  

While FMM supported the need to strengthen control measures, Soh said the government should not resort to extreme and threatening measures, such as by imposing hefty fines or imprisonment.  

"What is required more urgently is more rehabilitative and advisory approaches on how to overcome this disease and infections.  

"Any arbitrary and high-handed enforcement provisions will lead to negative and somewhat irreversible results as well as become a breeding ground for corruption and bribery," added Soh.  

The amendment bill was tabled for its first reading in Dewan Rakyat on Dec 14.  

However, the bill courted controversy as it proposed to increase the maximum compound to RM10,000 for individuals and RM1 million for corporate bodies that violate standard operating procedures.  

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, on Dec 20, deferred the second and third readings of the amendment bill to the next Dewan Rakyat sitting to secure a bipartisan consensus.  

Khairy also agreed for the amendments to be made public before it is tabled again in the Dewan Rakyat.

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