After Penang bars medical tourists, minister says states may not override Putrajaya

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob  urged state governments to refer to the Special Meeting of Ministers on the movement control order (MCO) before making any decisions on related standard operating procedures (SOP).— Bernama pic
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob urged state governments to refer to the Special Meeting of Ministers on the movement control order (MCO) before making any decisions on related standard operating procedures (SOP).— Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, August 18 — State governments are not allowed to impose their own regulations on social and business activities as these would be superseding the federal government, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today.

Ismail Sabri also urged state governments to refer to the Special Meeting of Ministers on the movement control order (MCO) before making any decisions on related standard operating procedures (SOP).

He cited the Penang state government’s decision to bar entry to medical tourists due to the re-emergence of Covid-19 infections in the state, adding that such regulations may only be enforced at the respective states if gazetted and approved by the Health Ministry.

“When a state government introduces a law which is not approved by the National Security Council and the Health Ministry, then the said law cannot be enforced.

“For example, the police, in order to take action, will only obey orders issued by the federal government.

“They will only refer to the source of authority under the Health Ministry’s Act 342 (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act). 

“So if the state government enforces their own and action has been taken, they can be challenged in court,” he said in a press briefing here.

Earlier this week, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow announced the decision in a statement issued following flak over news that Indonesian medical tourists were flown into the state last Friday.

On a similar matter, Ismail Sabri also said state governments have no authority to limit activities in a specific area despite not being placed under an enhanced movement control order (EMCO) since the designation fell under the purview of the federal government under Act 342.

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