KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 — Amendments to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) can’t wait to be tabled and passed in the next Parliament sitting, which is six months away, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today.

In a press conference detailing some of the amendments proposed by the Health Ministry, Dr Noor Hisham said that this was because Malaysia is still in danger of increased Covid-19 infections in coming months.

“This is for our readiness to face a possible increase of cases in two or three months or cases involving new variants such as Omicron spreading in our country,” he said during the press conference that was held in the ministry at Putrajaya.

“We see now in the United Kingdom and Europe cases are increasing, and if we were to forecast, then it shows that in two to three months normally Malaysia will face the same situation,” he added.

Dr Noor Hisham stressed that Act 342 was 32 years old and made with an epidemic situation in mind, which makes it inadequate for controlling a pandemic in 2021.

“Technology has advanced since 1988,” he said, while explaining that the suggested amendments will also cover the usage of electronic detection devices and phone applications to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Replying to journalists’ questions on how exactly the Act will be enforced, Dr Noor Hisham said that regulations — which will detail matters such as what amount of compound would be offered, and to whom — will be ironed out during and after the tabling of the amendments in Parliament.

He also mentioned that there are plans to introduce methods to reduce the amount of compounds received by those fined — for example, a 50 per cent discount for those who who pay the RM10,000 amount offered to compound their offences within two weeks.

Furthermore, regulations may include measures to reduce compounds imposed previously, during the tenure of the Emergency Ordinances, which was repealed in the Dewan Negara on December 8.

Through the previously enforced Emergency Ordinances, compound amounts were increased from RM1,000 for anyone, to a maximum or RM10,000 for individuals and a maximum of RM50,000 for companies.

This saw the law being applied by enforcement officers, including the police, to give the maximum RM10,000 compound offer to even students and poor citizens — which was widely documented and protested about by the public through social media.