Guan Eng: DAP will not support amendments to Act 342 on hike in fines for SOP violation

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Lim Guan Eng said individuals and companies had suffered enough and should not be further burdened economically. – Bernama file photo

KUCHING (Jan 14): Democratic Action Party (DAP) will not support the amendments to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) that proposes a hike in fines for flouting the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to curb Covid-19.

Its national secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is Bagan MP, said the rationale for not backing the proposed amendments is that individuals and companies had suffered enough and should not be further burdened economically.

“DAP will not support the controversial amendments to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) that proposes to increase the fines for failing to comply with Covid-19 SOPs.

“Even though the bill to be presented in the coming March session of Parliament will maintain the maximum fine for individuals to RM1,000 for individuals but to halve the maximum compound fine for companies from RM1 million to RM500,000, all compound fines issued under the Act are subject to a RM1,000 cap.

“PH (Pakatan Harapan) has earlier decided not to support Act 342 due to the controversial increase in fines, suggesting that companies that continue to defy and breach the SOPs be closed down instead.

“Individuals and companies have suffered enough and should not be burdened under the current economic recession with heavier fines subject to the discretion of the government,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Last month, the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Amendment) Bill 2021 which included increasing the maximum compound on individuals and corporate organisations violating the law was tabled for its first reading in the Dewan Rakyat.

The amendments proposed that the value of the compound be increased from RM1,000 to RM1 million for a corporate body, while for individual offences, a fine of up to RM10,000 could be imposed, as compared to the current maximum RM1,000.

The second and third readings of the Bill have been deferred to the next Dewan Rakyat meeting.