Was the Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2) Ordinance 2021 approved by the Cabinet before it became law today?

I welcome the statement by the Co-ordinating Minister for National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin that he has spoken to inspector-general of police Abdul Hamid Bador on the issue of whistleblowers who expose shortcomings in the ongoing vaccination exercise with regard to the emergency ordinance on fake news pertaining to Covid-19 and the emergency proclamation.

This raises seven important questions:

First, whether and when the Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2) Ordinance 2021 - which came into effect today and provides for a fine of up to RM100,000, a jail term of up to three years or both, for those who create, publish or distribute fake news - was presented to the Cabinet for approval?

Or are emergency ordinances gazetted without having to get Cabinet sanction?

Secondly, why didn’t the Cabinet Ministers, in particular the Minister for National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, Khairy Jamaluddin, fine-tune the Ordinance to ensure that whistle-blowers of the National Immunisation Roll-out, like nephrologist and front-liner Dr. Rafidah Abdullah, are not caught by the Ordinance?

Thirdly, why the Ordinance was confined to fake news about Covid-19 and the Emergency Proclamation, and not the whole genre of fake news and false information which have poisoned inter-racial and inter-religious relations in Malaysia in the past few years?

Fourthly, was nephrologist Dr.Rafifah Abdullah’s tweet about the problem of “Dua Darjat 2.0” in the national vaccination rollout and joint statement by the three Pakatan Harapan leaders, Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Guan Eng and Mohd Sabu, on January 12 on the Emergency Proclamation the cause and inspiration for the Ordinance?

Fifthly, why the Cabinet did not suggest that before the Ordinance is gazetted, there should be a period of public feedback from interested organisations and individuals?

Sixthly, is the Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2) Ordinance 2021 going set the example for other Emergency Ordinances, where new Ordinances are suddenly gazetted into law without any public notice, discussion or debate?

Seventhly, is the Muhyiddin Cabinet prepared to suspend the coming-into-force of the Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2) Ordinance 2021 to a later date until there are amendment and public feedback on its enactment?

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri