Responding to Azmin Ali, who last night said state governments who did not fully adopt the federal government’s CMCO were in defiance of the law and could be sued by industry players who want to reopen for business.
- Selangor MB emphasised the need for a “soft landing”, not “crash landing”
- Penang CM says ready to be sued for protecting lives of Penang citizens
- Sabah CM says saving lives more important than worrying about lawsuits
Selangor has defended its constitutional and legal right to not fully adopt Putrajaya’s conditional movement control order (CMCO), Penang has dared the federal government to sue for not following the order, while Sabah said it was poor timing for Putrajaya to threaten state governments with lawsuits.
Selangor executive councillor Teng Chang Him said the state list and the concurrent list under the Ninth Schedule of the federal constitution empowers state governments to instruct businesses not to resume operations.
Local government power to oversee business operations is on the state list, while public health sanitation and prevention of diseases are on the concurrent list.
He was responding to Senior Minister and International Trade and Industry Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali, who last night said state governments who did not fully adopt the federal government’s CMCO were in defiance of the law and could be sued by industry players who want to reopen for business.
Under the CMCO announced last Friday, most economic sectors are allowed to resume operations yesterday provided that businesses followed procedures to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Selangor decided to further restrict the number and types of businesses allowed to operate.
It also requires construction sites to submit health safety plans before receiving approval from the local authority and has continued banning the use of public parks and dine-in at restaurants.
Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Amirudin Shari also defended his administration today over its decision to only comply partly with the CMCO, saying the move was within its authority.
The MB emphasised the need for a “soft landing” as opposed to a “crash landing”.
“The virus is still around, so it is a matter of protecting our lives and livelihoods,” he said.
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, meanwhile, said the state and he were ready to be sued for protecting the lives of Penang citizens.
Penang has decided to implement the CMCO in phases instead of allowing sectors to restart in one day and is preparing guidelines for industries in the meantime.
Chow told Azmin to explain why the states were not consulted prior to the announcement of the CMCO.
“I hope the senior minister will not go around the country and intimidate all the states. Treat us with respect as a strategic partner as our main aim is to work together for the economic good of the country.
“It is for Azmin to decide if he wants to work together with us,” he said in his daily message aired live over his official Facebook page.
Meanwhile, Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said the federal government should get input from states in future before making major decisions.
“This is not the time to argue about the law. What we are trying to do is save lives in Sabah. We have to cooperate to save lives. We cannot restore the economy at the expense of people’s lives.
“What if someone dies and they sue us? Should I be more afraid of being sued by businesses? I’m more afraid of people dying. The economy can be revived but people’s lives cannot,” he said.
Shafie said it was not that the state did not want to comply with the new rules of the CMCO which is to reopen all economic sectors but said there were factors that made it less viable to be carried out in the state.
He said that the few days between the announcement on Friday and opening yesterday was not enough time to prepare.
“If we open plantations and mills in the east coast but there are no flights, that’s an eight-hour drive across the state. Who are the buyers? The markets are not open yet. I’m an economist. I am keen to revive the economy but not like this. We have to be ready and unwind properly,” he said.
He said it was imperative that the states be consulted on such approaches so that the federal government had a better idea of the situation on the ground.
“I know there are meetings every day with the senior ministers. But we are not invited. But they could disseminate the information to us and get input,” he said.
Shafie also said he will continue with the current laws until May 12 and will allow more sectors to operate in stages.
At the moment, the sectors allowed to operate are those in the food and agriculture business, medical, oil and gas, plantations and some other consumer businesses.