The sudden cancellation of the Emergency ordinances (EOs) nearly two weeks ahead of the scheduled Aug 1 end date has not just caused an uproar in Parliament, it has also left many confused, including the public and the enforcers.
What happens to compounds, fines and penalties meted out after July 21?
The truth is, there is little change for the ordinary MCO offender. All MCO offences already carry a fine of up to RM50,000 regardless of the Emergency ordinance.
The maximum RM100,000 fine and a seven-year jail term are, however, removed for MCO offenders under a general penalties provision, which applies to offences not listed under the law.
The Dewan Rakyat was told about the revocation of all six EOs yesterday in a surprise announcement by law minister Takiyuddin Hassan. He said the government had also decided not to extend the state of Emergency, which ends on Aug 1.
FMT takes a look at how the cancellation of the Emergency ordinances will affect the public.
Besides the main Emergency ordinance, the other laws cancelled are the fake news law, minimum housing standards for workers, government’s right to take over land or immovable property, dipping into the trust fund and community service for those sentenced to less than three years.
All MCO related offences: This involved all disease prevention laws.
What it meant: Previously, all MCO offences carried a RM1,000 fine. Under the EO, the fines were raised to RM10,000, while companies committing the offence can be given up to RM50,000 in fines. This began on March 11.
What happens now: Despite the EO being cancelled on July 21, existing disease prevention laws appear to impose a heftier overall fine of up to RM50,000. This is five times more than the maximum RM10,000 fine for MCO offences under the EO.
Essentially, even without the EO, an individual or a company may still be fined RM50,000, under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) (National Recovery Plan) Regulations 2021, which came into effect on July 5. This is a subsidiary law that did not need to be passed in Parliament.
Thus, the only effect of the EO being revoked is that the general penalty of RM100,000, or up to seven years jail term, for offences is no more.
However, lawyer Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali says the public could contest the penalties “or refuse to pay them and even ask on what legal basis the compound offer was made”.
The other laws under the EO:
Fake news law
To fine those who create, publish or distribute fake news related to Covid-19 or the Emergency.
What it meant: A fine of up to RM100,000, a jail term of up to three years or both. If those charged fail to apologise after being ordered to do so by the court, they can be fined an additional RM50,000, and those who pay to “create” such news can be fined up to RM500,000. All fines come with jail terms as well.
What happens now: All charges will be under the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998, which does not define fake news but penalises abuse of network services. Offenders can be fined RM50,000 and be jailed for one year or both.
Power over land and resources
To allow the government to take possession of land, building or moveable property and also demand for the use of resources.
What it meant: Those who went against orders could be fined RM5 million or a maximum of 10 years in jail.
What happens now: The government can no longer take over possession of property without due recourse.
Use of reserve funds
To allow the government to dip into a reserve fund (KWAN) to procure vaccines.
What it meant: The government withdrew some RM19.2 billion for the procurement of vaccines by October.
What happens now: The government can no longer access the money in the fund.
Housing for workers
Stiffer penalties against bosses or building owners failing to provide proper housing facilities for workers.
What it meant: Owners of accommodation can be ordered to replace, change or upgrade the facilities should it be found not to meet certain criteria. Those refusing to abide can be fined up to RM200,000 or be jailed up to three years or both. For the first time, the law is extended to Sabah and Sarawak as well.
What happens now: Those who do not provide proper housing for workers will be hit with RM50,000 fine under the Workers Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities (Amendment) 2019 (Act 446).
Those facing jail terms of up to three years can be sentenced to community service.
What happens now: It reverts back to jail term as imposed by the courts for those facing jail sentences of more than three months. Those with jail sentences of three months and below can be sentenced to community service.
Source : FMT