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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Business groups seek clarity on regulations as emergency ordinances in limbo


A coalition of business groups has called on the government to provide clarity on regulations governing businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is as many are unclear about the status of offences and fines under the emergency ordinances which the government said had been revoked on July 21, only to be refuted by Istana Negara given that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had yet to assent to the revocation.

Industries Unite, a coalition of 116 trade associations and chambers of commerce, said they do not wish to weigh into the politics of the matter but hope for a clear direction.

"Industries Unite is apolitical and has no intention to wade into the political issues raised by the honourable minister’s statement in Parliament... except to state that many businesses are impacted by the various ordinances enacted during the emergency.

"This must be addressed by the government immediately, including legal actions and sanctions on people and businesses since July 21.

"We request the prime minister immediately issue a statement in clarification," said its co-founders David Gurupatham and Irwin SW Cheong in a statement.

De facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan had on Monday told the Dewan Rakyat that the emergency ordinances were revoked on July 21 but Istana Negara claimed he had misled Parliament.

The Agong wanted the emergency ordinances to be debated in Parliament but the government wants them revoked without going through the legislature.

The Industries Unite representatives said the situation had caused confusion.

"We understand there has not yet been a gazette, therefore these ordinances are still applicable," they said.

They added that if it is the government's position that the emergency ordinances have been revoked, then it should ensure they are not being used against businesses.

"We ask that the government, who have openly declared that the ordinances are revoked, instruct the enforcement officers and prosecution officers... to immediately desist from proceeding under these ordinances.

"This would be within the spirit and intent of the said position taken by the government," they said.

The emergency ordinances had raised the fines against individuals and companies who violate the movement control order from RM1,000 to RM10,000 and RM50,000 respectively.

The ordinances also introduced a new provision where any person who breaches the law for "which no penalty is expressly provided" can face up to a RM100,000 fine or seven years imprisonment or both.

It also allows company representatives to be charged in court for offences committed by businesses. - Mkini

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