SRI AMAN: Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has urged all MPs to support the Bill to amend the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) as the amendments can strengthen the government’s arsenal in the fight against Covid-19.

Khairy had briefed MPs on Monday regarding the guidelines and conditions which needed to be fulfilled before the proposed higher penalty could be meted out for violation of Covid-19 prevention standard operating procedure.

The guidelines would protect the people from being slapped with unjust compounds for violating the SOP, he said.

“Surely, we are not going to issue a RM10,000 compound on someone for not wearing a face mask,” he added.

According to Bernama, Khairy said the existing law was not effective in curbing the spread of Covid-19 as factories which contributed to clusters could only be fined a maximum of RM1,000 although their revenue might run into billions of ringgit.

“MPs should not block the amendments as this will cripple the Health Ministry.

“We are fine-tuning the guidelines and I have told all MPs, including from the Opposition, that I will bring the guidelines to the Select Committee,” he said here yesterday.

Khairy also rejected the Opposition’s claims that the proposed amendments were punitive in nature.

“We have guidelines to prevent abuse of power. I am appealing for the amendments to be passed at this sitting. If we wait until March next year, we don’t know what will happen in the next two months with the emergence of Omicron and the like.

“Being punitive is the last resort as we need to have weapons to face this pandemic. We have done our bit with vaccination, early measures, SOP and control, but what about the question of fines?” he said.

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