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Emergency Ordinance: Govt gets immunity from lawsuits for acts, neglect or default ‘done in good faith’

Under the newly gazetted Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021, the government is granted full immunity from any court charges or lawsuits for acts, neglect or default, done in good faith.

The gazettement is dated January 14, but takes retrospective effect from January 11, the day Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah issued his proclamation of Emergency under Article 150 (1) of the Federal Constitution to safeguard the country from the economic threat posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.  

“No action, suit, prosecution or any other proceeding shall lie or be brought, instituted or maintained in any court against the government, any public officer or any person appointed under subsection 6(1) of the Ordinance, in respect of any act, neglect or default done or omitted by it or him in good faith, in carrying out the provision of this Ordinance,” Section 10 of the Ordinance read.

Source: Federal Government Gazette

As long as the state of Emergency is in force, the prime minister and the Cabinet, which existed immediately prior to the issuance of the Proclamation of Emergency on 11 January 2021, and who have been conferred the executive functions, shall also continue to exercise the executive authority of the Federation and such other persons who have been conferred the executive functions by law shall continue to exercise such functions.

This also includes the mentris besar, chief ministers and the state executive councils.

The Ordinance also allows legislative functions to make subsidiary legislation under Federal laws, while state laws will continue to be exercised by the persons authorised by such laws.

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Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced a state of Emergency which he claimed was to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn.

Under the Emergency declaration, Parliament and state legislative assemblies will not be allowed to meet, until such a time as decided by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The Dewan Rakyat was scheduled to meet for the first time this year from March 8 to April 8. —  Malay Mail


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