Temporary Measures Bill for Covid-19 delayed due to planning process, says minister

Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan addresses reporters in Putrajaya August 19,2020.― Picture by Miera Zulyana
Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan addresses reporters in Putrajaya August 19,2020.― Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — The Temporary Measures for Reducing The Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) Bill 2020 took some time to be tabled in Parliament as it involved planning and stakeholder discussions.

In winding up the debate on the bill, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said this was to ensure effectiveness of the bill in helping those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Many have raised that the government was slow in tabling the bill, but Iet it be clear that the government had taken steps to introduce it as early as April and May.

“To make the proposed legislation become more effective, the government needs to have the plans laid out, hold discussions and engagement sessions with all the interested parties, those involved, including ministries, agencies, non-governmental organisations, civil society, private bodies and Bank Negara.

“So the delay was due to all the planning, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail,” he added.

He said amendments to the bill were made to 58 matters which were in favour of the people’s well-being including stamp exemption, income tax and fee remittance, while 24 of them were related to economic issues.

Earlier, several opposition MPs questioned the delay in tabling the bill in Parliament comparing it with Singapore’s move to approve the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 for the country on April 7.

Among them, Dr Ong Kian Ming (PH-Bangi) who said: “Singapore imposed a lockdown on April 7, 2020 and on the same day, their bill was passed in Parliament to provide temporary assistance to individuals”.

Others who had raised the issue over the delay were Teresa Kok (PH-Seputeh), Nurul Izzah Anwar (PH-Permatang Pauh), Kasthuriraani Patto (PH-Batu Kawan) and Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil (PH-Lembah Pantai).

A total of 27 MPs debated on the bill aimed to provide temporary measures to reduce the impact of Covid-19, including modifications to 16 Acts, namely the Limitation Act 1953; the Sabah Limitation Ordinance; the Sarawak Limitation Ordinance; the Public Authorities Protection Act 1948; the Insolvency Act 1967; the Hire-Purchase Act 1967 and the Consumer Protection Act 1999; the Distress Act 1951; the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act 1966; the Industrial Relations Act 1967; the Private Employment Agencies Act 1981; the Land Public Transport Act 2010; the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act 1987; the Courts of Judicature Act 1964; the Subordinate Courts Act 1948; and the Subordinate Courts Rules Act 1955). — Bernam