Local Councils Can’t Shut Factories due to Covid-19, Says Exco Man

PETALING JAYA: Selangor local councils do not have the power to close factories in response to Covid-19, a state executive councillor said, seemingly putting to bed the recent debate on the topic.

Exco member Ng Sze Han said it is the federal government’s purview to shut factories as the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) is a federal law.

“At present, matters relating to the operation of the manufacturing sector for the purpose of Covid-19 control are subject to Act 342 and any directives and SOPs set by the National Security Council,” he said in a statement today.

“Local councils have no jurisdiction to revoke, terminate or withdraw the license or permit arbitrarily against any factory in the state of Selangor.”

Ng’s comments come after PKR’s Rafizi Ramli and DAP’s Syahredzan Johan sparred on Twitter over who is responsible for closing factories in Selangor, which have been a hotbed for infections.

Rafizi argued that the state had the power to revoke their operating licences, but Syahredzan countered that Act 342 allowed Putrajaya to determine which economic sectors were essential and could operate, and that local councils could only revoke licences for breaches to provisions in the licence itself.

Ng said while local councils had been tasked to help enforce SOPs through an emergency ordinance to amend Act 342, this did not mean they had the power to close factories.

“The amendment was made to enable the environmental health officer in the local council to assist in the enforcement of SOPs and directives of the federal government. That power (to shut factories) is still under the federal government,” he said.

Source: https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2021/07/14/local-councils-cant-shut-factories-due-to-covid-19-says-exco-man/

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