Kit Siang’s aide chides Putrajaya for delay in gazetting Covid-19 relief Bill, says lives at stake

Syahredzan Johan, aide to Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang, said the Bill must take effect to remove legal setbacks that would hinder the roll out of assistance.  — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Syahredzan Johan, aide to Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang, said the Bill must take effect to remove legal setbacks that would hinder the roll out of assistance. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — A DAP political aide has urged the government to act fast and gazette the Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) Bill 2020, as the public continues to face uncertainties amid the outbreak.

Syahredzan Johan, aide to Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang, said the Bill must take effect to remove legal setbacks that would hinder the roll out of assistance. 

The Bill, which seeks to modify 16 legislations, was approved tabled in Parliament’s lower house in August and passed by the Senate last month.

“It has to be stressed here that the movement control order (MCO) had already been enforced in March 2020. This means it has been seven months since the declaration,” he said in a statement.

And as the country faces a third wave of the coronavirus outbreak, and a fresh round of movement restrictions enforced in several states and zones, Syahredzan said there is an urgency to gazette the Bill even more.

“If the bill is enforced, it would provide some relief and protection (to the public) even if there are weaknesses (to the Bill),” he said.

The Bill was tabled amid criticism and calls for improvement. 

Opposition lawmakers claimed there were serious loopholes, among them a provision that would allow creditors to start bankruptcy proceedings against debtors before the act comes into force despite raising the debt threshold.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled more than RM300 billion in stimulus and aid between April and May to mitigate the economic fallout caused by the ravaging coronavirus.

The country is seeing unprecedented spikes in new daily Covid-19 cases in the last two weeks, which has prompted public health authorities to reenact curbs on movement in high risk states.

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