In a statement today, 14 July, state Local Government, Public Transportation, and New Village Development executive councillor Ng Sze Han said that local authorities do not have the necessary power in accordance with the laws currently in force to close factories to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

His statement comes amidst demands for local authorities in the state to exercise their powers to revoke operating licences of factories that continue to operate despite contributing to the daily cases.

“Under Section 107(2) of the Local Government Act 1976 (Act 171), it appears to say that every licence and permit issued may be revoked at any time for any reason at all and without recourse. However, it does not allow for this power to be used arbitrarily, but rather in accordance to the conditions and parameters stated in the licence at the time it was issued,” he said in the statement.

“This section also does not specify when a PBT may order the closure of factories. The factory operating licence issued by PBTs is only subject to Act 171 in this manner,” he added.

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