MCO is legal, says health minister

Police have been implementing the MCO, meant to prevent spread of Covid-19.

PETALING JAYA: Health Minister Dr Adham Baba today said the movement control order (MCO) is legal as Covid-19 is categorised as a life-threatening microbial infection under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act.

Adham said he was referring to allegations that the MCO, which the federal government implemented, is unconstitutional, partly because Covid-19 is not gazetted as an infectious disease under the First Schedule of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act (Act 342).

“The health ministry would like to clarify that Covid-19 is a new pandemic that is happening across the world,” he said in a statement today.

“Currently, Covid-19 is categorised under Article 30, First Schedule, Act 342, which relates to ‘any microbial infection that is life threatening’.

“An amendment to the First Schedule of the act to list Covid-19 as an infectious disease must be made through the authority of the minister under Section 30, Act 342.”

Among those who have questioned the validity of the MCO include former law minister Liew Vui Keong. Last month, he said he was unable to find Covid-19 listed as a scheduled infectious disease in the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act.

Liew said his research into the act showed it was “very unclear” whether the government had defined Covid-19 as an infectious disease in the schedule.

Saying that he thought the MCO is illegal, Liew said he wanted to bring the issue to the courts to let them determine its validity.

“I have checked on the website of the Attorney-General’s Chambers whether they have gazetted it (Covid-19) and I don’t think they have,” he said in an online forum on May 17.

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