Local Councils Have No Power To Shut Down Factories Says Selangor Exco


 



Only federal authorities have the power to shut down factories, says Selangor exco member Ng Sze Han in a statement today.
While the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act (Act 342) had been amended in March this year to empower local councils to help enforce Covid-19 SOPs, Ng said there are still limitations.
“It should be noted that the above amendment does not mean that the local authorities have the power to close factories.
“The amendment was done to allow the environmental health officer in local authorities to help enforce SOPs and directives of the federal government.
“(However), that power (to close factories) is still under the federal government,” said Ng.
His statement follows a Twitter spat between former PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli and political secretary to Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang, Syahredzan Johan over the jurisdiction of the state government to order factories to shut down operations.
Previously, Ng himself had slammed the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) for allowing selected economic sectors to resume business in spite of the enhanced movement control order (MCO) in Selangor.
Citing Section 107 (2) of the Local Government Act (Act 171), he said that although this particular section appears to entrust local authorities with absolute power to revoke factories’ licences, the revocation must be done in accordance with the conditions and parameters stated in the licence at the time it was issued.
The Selangor exco member also maintained that it should not be done arbitrarily or without basis.
He noted that Act 171, which factory operating licences are subject to, does not involve health matters relating to the prevention and control of communicable diseases for which the relevant health laws are enforced by the federal government through Act 342.
Yesterday, the state was reported as being the worst hit state, with a total of 5,263 Covid-19 cases.
The dire situation in Selangor prompted the government to put most of the state under a two-week enhanced MCO on July 3.
Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob had initially stated that only factories producing essential goods such as foods, medicines, and medical supplies would be allowed to operate during the enhanced MCO.
Miti later expanded the list of manufacturing sectors allowed to operate - which now includes the electrical and electronics (E&E) sector, the aerospace sector, as well as the key food and beverage manufacturers, among others.
It maintained that companies are required to fully comply with SOPs for the manufacturing sector, with regard to the EMCO in Selangor.
Earlier this month, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah was reported to have said that 60 percent of Covid-19 cases stemming from workplace clusters in the first month of the nationwide lockdown came from factories, leading to a total of 18,065 cases in that duration.
In response to this, International Trade and Industry Minister Azmin Ali claimed that it was unfair to blame the manufacturing sector for the high number of Covid-19 cases.
He said that while workplace clusters accounted for a large number of all clusters, the manufacturing sector cases made up a minority of all cases reported. - Mkini


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