Gov’t to rope in private hospitals when needed to curb Covid-19

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Jan 12: Private healthcare facilities including its resources and assets can be roped in to assist and ease the burden of government agencies especially public hospitals in tackling the Covid-19 crisis during the emergency.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin emphasised that the Federal government with the consent of the Yang di-Pertua Agong can proclaim any ordinance when the needs arise to take immediate action during the emergency period.

“The Federal government can seek more inclusive involvement from the private sector including private healthcare facilities to help ease the burden of government agencies especially public hospitals.

“For the purpose of curbing the Covid-19 outbreak, several Ordinances can be proclaimed by the Yang di-Pertua Agong,” he said in addressing the nation today following Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah proclaiming a state of emergency across the country until Aug 1 to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Through the Ordinance, Muhyiddin explained that it covered matters related to use of private hospitals’ assets, temporary taking over of land, building or mobile assets or to request for private hospital resources to treat Covid-19 patients.

Other assistance that can be obtained from the private sector include human resources, expertise, facilities, assets, laboratories and other utilities.

“In addition, the necessary powers under this Ordinance will also be used to facilitate business and overcome any regulations that make it difficult to deliver public health services quickly, efficiently and effectively during this pandemic,” he added.

Muhyiddin pointed out that the Armed Forces and police can also be empowered to enforce any relevant laws to assist in performing functions related to public health and other functions carried out by civil servants related to the pandemic.

“In line with the emergency proclamation, the national border security will be tightened with authority given to the Armed Forces, apart from police and immigration to arrest illegal immigrants and anyone who intrudes into the border of the country,” he said.

Any Ordinance, he continued, can also be enacted to amend the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 to increase the effectiveness of the enforcement of this Act in curbing the spread of Covid-19.

“This includes increasing penalties or punishments for anyone who violates the laws and regulations related to the control of the Covid-19 epidemic.

“The Ordinances aimed at combating economic sabotage, monopolies and excessive prices of goods during the pandemic can also be proclaimed by His Majesty. Strict enforcement actions and heavier penalties can be imposed for this purpose,” he added.

Muhyiddin assured that all the Ordinances to be proclaimed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong will be gazetted and be made known to the people. — DayakDaily