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KUCHING, Dec 30: Part II (Inability to Perform Contractual Obligations) of the Temporary Measures to Reduce the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 Act (Covid-19) [Act 829] which was scheduled to end on Dec 31, 2021 has been extended to run from Jan 1, 2022 to Oct 22, 2022.
According to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, this is pursuant to subsection 5 (2) of Act 829, where the Minister may by order published in the Gazette, extend the effective period of Part II but the extension of this part shall not exceed the effective period of Act 829.
“This extension was approved by the Cabinet on Dec 22, 2021, to ensure the effective and progressive coordination of the implementation of Act 829 pursuant to the amendments made recently,” he said in a statement today.
Earlier, the amendments to the Temporary Measures to Reduce the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 Act (Covid-19) [Act 829] were presented by the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Wira Mas Ermieyati Samsuddin.
The amendments were passed by the House of Representatives on Dec 16, 2021 and in the Senate on Dec 22, 2021 unanimously. The amendments tabled involved provisions under several ministries and agencies such as the Prime Minister’s Department, Ministry of Housing and Local Government and Ministry of Human Resources.
In the same statement, the de facto Law Minister said the amendments of Act 829 signal the government’s commitment to mitigate the legal impact due to the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) enforced to curb the spread of Covid-19.
He explained that the Act provides temporary relief to parties from performing their contractual obligations for a specified period.
“Amendment to subsection 9(1) of Part II – Inability to Perform Contractual Obligations will assist mediation service initiatives under Covid-19 Mediation Centre (PMC-19), a government agency set up in November 2020.
“Through this amendment, all types of commercial contracts affected by the implementation of the MCO to curb the spread of Covid-19 can be referred to PMC-19 as compared to the previous nine (9) categories of contract stipulated in the Schedule in Section 7,” he said.
Dr Wan Junaidi reiterated that the extension of this period is expected to support mediation service initiatives under PMC-19 where the amendment of subsection 9 (1) of Part II of the Act 829 does not confine the contracting parties to seek mediation services based on categories of contracts stipulated in the schedule under section 7.
He said PMC-19 is in partnership with the Malaysian Bar, Advocates Association of Sarawak, and Sabah Law Society to conduct mediation services for individuals and businesses whose contracts are affected by the implementation of the MCO.
The Malaysian Bar and the government launched a Mediate First Campaign on Nov 18, 2021 where lawyers pledged to assist clients who were looking for swift solutions to contractual disputes in relation to the implementation of the MCO to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“A total of 50 law firms have stepped up to give this Mediate First Pledge and the list can be found on the PMC19 website,” he added.
Dr Wan Junaidi also pointed out that the Temporary Measures to Reduce the Impact of Coronavirus Disease Act 2019 (Covid-19) 2020 was gazetted on Oct 23, 2020 and will be effective for the period of 2 years from the date of publication in the Government Gazette.
“The enactment of this Act involves the modifications to 14 Acts and 2 Ordinances which are under the purview several ministries and agencies,” he said. — DayakDaily