Ex-law minister says MCO may have no legal basis
A former minister questions how social distancing can be enforced as there is no law on it
PETALING JAYA: Former law minister Liew Vui Keong has questioned the validity of the movement control order after he said he was unable to find Covid-19 listed as a scheduled infectious disease.
Liew said that his research into the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act showed that it was “very unclear” whether the government had defined Covid-19 as an infectious disease in the schedule.
“I think it (MCO) is illegal and this is something which I want to bring to the courts to ask them to determine whether it is valid,” he said in an online forum hosted by Pakatan Harapan tonight.
“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. If Covid-19 is not part of the schedule, how can you use that as a reason to stop us from meeting in Parliament? This government has a lot to answer for,” he said.
Last month, the Dewan Rakyat secretary had written to MPs to say that the House would convene for only one day on May 18 because of the MCO, in force since March 18 to stem the spread of Covid-19. The order, which restricts public gatherings and calls for other measures such as social distancing, has been extended in phases until June 9.
Liew Vui Keong, former minister for law
Liew also expressed concern about the government’s requirement that people practice social distancing (keeping at least one metre away from each other). He said it could not be enforced as there are no laws to define the requirement.
“I want to wake up our new law minister. Wake up, wake up! Look at Singapore. They have already passed a law to define what is social distancing,” said Liew.
“If there are no laws to say what is social distancing in Malaysia, how can you ask the police to arrest people for not complying with this social distancing order? You can’t do that.”
For a momentary instant I thought what a fantastic discovery on a point of law by former Law Minister Liew Vui Keong, to wit, that he has taken serious deep research out of health safety concerns in order to patch up a loophole which may negate the important and vital-to-our-health policy of MCO and 'social distancing'.
But I am somewhat disappointed that his real aim has been (presumably 'ONLY') to argue against the PN government's instructions to stop parliamentarians from meeting in Parliament, and not so much to 'patch up' any legal loopholes?
In other words, it's not a point of law for legal sake that he has been concerned about but ONLY a selfish desire to argue for his Atuk's demand for the full duration of parliamentary session on 18 May 2020.
Has he realised that in so doing, to achieve his real political aim, he may have eff-ed up the real health safety aspects of keeping Covid-19 at bay?
While arguing for and insisting on observing-adhering to the law is indeed good, and there's no denying it, his expressed motive (as in his "how can you use that as a reason to stop us from meeting in Parliament") has somewhat put his arguments in the worst of light, that by a very selfish man.
And while on the topic of legal propriety and fairness, why hasn't the former Law minister comment on similar covid-associated seeming legal injustice like what happened to single mum B. Lisa Christina? Poor Lisa was jailed for 30 days for violating the MCO whilst Nurulhidayah Ahmad Zahid, daughter of Ahmad Zahid, got away for the same offence, nay, a worse one because Nurulhidayah showed her defiant arrogance when caught on camera for breaching the official lockdown? And what about the mentally-affected Indian man who was fined a ludicrously humongous RM40,000 or 1 year's jail for hanging a dog - a likely act of insanity? Where the eff was YB mantan Menteri Liew Vui Keong?
And shall we now go ahead and ignore MCO as well as eff up the requirement to 'social distance' on Liew's arguments?