KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has said that his party will not support amendments to the Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342), which will increase the maximum fine for companies that breach the law to RM500,000.

In a statement today, the Opposition lawmaker said this was because the amendments — which are to be tabled during the next Parliament sitting in March — would further burden the public and businesses that are already reeling from the pandemic.

“PH has earlier decided not to support (the amendments to) Act 342 due to the controversial increase in fines, suggesting that companies that continue to defy and breach the SOPs (standard operating procedures) be closed down instead,

“Individuals and companies have suffered enough and should not be burdened under the current economic recession with heavier fines subject to the discretion of the government,” he said.

Currently, Act 342 calls for a RM1,000 fine as a punishment for all flouters — whether a low-wage earner or a conglomerate worth a billion ringgit.

The proposed amendments were debated and altered several times in December, and the current Bill calls for maintaining the RM1,000 fine for individuals, while allowing a maximum fine of RM500,000 for companies.

Earlier renditions had proposed an even higher maximum fine, of RM1 million, for companies.

Earlier today, news organisation Free Malaysia Today (FMT) reported that according to unnamed sources, there are MPs in Umno who plan to oppose the amendment Bill in hopes of triggering a general election.