The Prime Minister’s declaration on 1.5.2020 that the Movement Control Order (MCO), which has been gazetted to be in force until 12.5.2020, will be relaxed to enable various businesses to resume operations conditionally, defies logic and the very purpose the said MCO was issued.
It is obvious that the said MCO was enforced for the main purpose of “flattening the curve” or reducing the number of Covid-19 cases in the country which, at its peak, was recording numbers in excess of 200 per day.
From the time the PM declared the said relaxation of the MCO, the number of cases daily have increased, from 69 to 122 cases today.
In such circumstances, it is obvious that the concern of the rise in the number of cases of Covid-19 in the country has not been fully resolved, which necessitates the continuation of the MCO, at least until 12.5.2020.
How can the PM allow people to go back to work on 4.5.2020 conditionally, knowing fully well that there is a need to enforce the MCO until at least 12.5.2020?
Furthermore, various legal implications arise from the PM’s announcement on 1.5.2020.
Would States be faulted for following the original MCO which was issued by the Federal government itself by not allowing people to go back to work until at least 12.5.2020? After all, it was the Federal government which required all states to enforce the said MCO until at least 12.5.2020.
No doubt, there have been financial losses as a result of the implementation of the MCO. That has been happening since 18.3.2020 when it was first implemented.
But if we are still recording more than 100 cases a day, what is the justification of relaxing the MCO now when it expires on 12.5.2020?
The PM must prioritise the safety and health of the people and, most importantly, take all necessary steps to prevent a new wave of Covid-19 cases.
With respect, his justification for the relaxation of the said MCO on 1.5.2020 is unconvincing and as such, States should be allowed to continue with the MCO as originally intended until 12.5.2020, despite the Federal government’s relaxation of the same.
Dated this 3rd of May, 2020.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
CHAIRMAN NATIONAL LEGAL BUREAU
DEMOCRATIC ACTION PARTY