Displaying items by tag: MCO

We are living in a highly connected world with a complex socio-economic models and networks that often generate issues for which linear problem solution method do not offer adequate resolutions.

The current pandemic crisis has proven this as we explain.

Normally, when a quick fix is attempted to unravel symptoms of a problem, the solution invariably creates unintended consequences that may exacerbate the problem over time.

Unfortunately, people tend to discount the truism that those dire consequences derive from their quick fixes and even more so when they apply more of them.

The same fix that seems to overcome a problem in the short run often creates unintended consequences that further exacerbate that problem.

Terms such as 'fixes that fail' or the 'cobra effects' have been coined to illustrate an event when a solution unexpectedly worsens the problem. Scenarios such as these were apparent during the initial phase of the movement control order (MCO) in Malaysia.

For instance, the government order to halt mass gatherings and promote social distancing unexpectedly led people to gather in stores for panic buying and bus stations to return to their hometowns.

A long list of unintended consequences of Covid-19 related policies developed one after the next, ranging from mental illness due to isolation, domestic violence, shutting down of small businesses and disruptions of the democratic political processes.

This list is expected to grow even longer with the reopening of public spheres and businesses after the MCO period in the absence of careful systems-oriented thinking and preparation.

It is important for policymakers therefore to thoroughly analyse and mitigate any unintended consequences emanating from their decisions.

"A policy is better when the more of these unintended consequences it takes into account before the policy is administrated" argues Homa Zarghamee, an economics professor at Bernard College, New York.

A systemic approach of thinking, planning, and leadership is thus essential in managing complex crises such as the one unfolded by Covid-19.

This involves cultivating a shared understanding of the nature and risk of the pandemic through mass communication, visualising causal relationships and effects through systems modelling and mapping tools (e.g.: dynamic interacting map published by the World Economic Forum) to spot unforeseen risks, identifying critical leverage points to instigate effective actions and enhance the capacity for coordination, and collaboration across different sectors.

In the context of Islamic jurisprudence, forecasting consequences of actions or decisions is technically known as i' tibar al-ma 'al, which relates to our concerns.

Its legitimacy primarily derives from Qur'anic verses that demand people to carefully look into the outcomes of their action such as the verse in which Muslims are advised not to insult the dieties of pagans and idol-worshippers for fear of reprisals that may then lead to greater social enmity and hatred (al-An'am, 108).

Hence adequate planning and consideration of the consequences of words and actions is highly recommended for all Muslims, especially for their leaders, law makers and governments.

In the current situation, policymakers and the society at large should be keenly aware of the complexity of our highly interconnected globalized world with reference especially to unintended consequences of decisions.

This can be better done by promoting a systemic approach for officials, industry players, and civil society organisations.

For many Muslim societies such as ours that are expected to return to a new normal post the MCO period, mainstreaming systemic thinking and its approaches should become part and parcel of the decision-making process, particularly in the attempt to mitigate dire unintended consequences.

The writer is a Research Fellow at the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia.

Published in: The New Straits Times, Tuesday 12 May 2020

Source : https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/05/591710/beware-unintended-consequences-when-searching-solution

In the past, fasting was attributed to human spiritual belief in worshiping God for meditation reasons. It has been practised for thousands of years in serving various purposes of life. It is still a practice today. Generally, the practitioners are subjected to certain dietary procedure which trains them to be better disciplined to gain better self-control.

Fasting to Muslims is a practice of abstaining from food and drinks, sexual contact, arguments and unkind language or acts from dawn to sunset. It is the fourth pillar of Islam. 

Since March 18, Malaysians have been #StayingAtHome or #DudukDiRumah under the movement control order (MCO) declared by the government to help stop the Covid-19 pandemic. The speed at which this disease spreads is like nothing we have seen before. Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said on March 27, We are a nation at war with invisible forces. The situation we are now facing is unprecedented in history.... This unprecedented situation of course requires unprecedented measures”.

It is time for Malaysia to enact an unprecedented law: the Covid-19 law. This law would provide for temporary measures to aid businesses, especially SMEs (small and medium enterprises), that are adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

While we are observing the MCO by staying home, many contractual obligations are still running, including payment of salaries, rental of business premises, commitments to deliver (non-essential) goods and services, construction contracts, booking of events in hotels and event halls for which deposits have been paid, and loan repayments and hire purchase payments for machinery and equipment.

The government has taken various positive steps to assist SMEs through stimulus packages announced on March 27 and April 6, particularly in subsidising salaries, allowing rental waivers or deductions, and, through Bank Negara Malaysia, instituting a six-month moratorium on loan repayments. However, there are other contractual obligations that SMEs have to fulfil. Hence, I expect that after the MCO is lifted, there will be many claims for breach of contracts. If the claims are successful and the defaulting parties are unable to pay the compensations or damages adjudged, there will be many bankruptcies, which is absolutely undesirable in the tough years ahead. A Covid-19 law could grant relief to parties genuinely affected by the pandemic, giving them time to breathe and recover until they can meet their contractual obligations.

Many SMEs are gravely affected by this crisis, and it is not an exaggeration to say they are on the brink of collapse because they are running out of cash. The effect of having many SMEs close down is massive: About 98% of all businesses in Malaysia are SMEs, and SMEs contribute about 40% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), amounting to more than RM500bil. More importantly, SMEs currently provide jobs to 70% of Malaysia’s workforce. We cannot let SMEs, the backbone of the country’s economy, collapse.

It is the government’s duty to intervene. Singapore has tabled the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill for debate in its Parliament. Policymakers are calling the law a “legal circuit breaker”. In a free market economy, governments are generally reluctant to intervene with contracts entered into in the business community, thus upholding the sanctity of contract. However, during a crisis like this, and looking at the magnitude of effects caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, governments should introduce laws to save the economy.

Malaysia could use Singapore’s law as a reference point. The “legal circuit breaker” could cover several types of contracts, such as:

Construction-related contractsThe supply chain in the construction industry has been badly affected by the MCO. Many countries have imposed movement controls or lockdowns, causing shortages of materials. Manpower is also a huge concern, and many foreign workers are not able to enter Malaysia or leave their home countries due to travel restrictions.

A Covid-19 law should allow delays during the effected period to be disregarded and extensions granted. For example, housing developers who have signed sales and purchase agreements with purchasers under prescribed Schedule G or Schedule H agreements (which do not have a force majeure clause) should be allowed an extension to deliver vacant possession to purchasers. Being penalised for 10% a year liquidated damages is unfair. Likewise, employers in construction contracts should not slap contractors with damages if construction work is delayed due to the MCO.

Tenancy and lease of non-residential properties: Tenants who are genuinely unable to pay rent as a result of Covid-19 may seek relief by serving their landlords with notice. The Covid-19 law should prohibit the landlord from commencing legal proceedings against the tenant for a prescribed period of time, being the period affected by the pandemic, for this type of contract.

This does not mean that tenants no longer need to pay the rent during the affected period, it just means that payment is deferred to a time deemed appropriate by the law without the risk of being evicted or the tenancy being terminated by the landlord.

To reduce the burden on the landlord, the law should also allow the landlord to utilise the security/rental deposit to cover the outstanding rent for this period. The deposit should be topped-up by the tenant after an appropriate period of time.

Tourism, hospitality and event contractsIn this area, it is common for people to make advance bookings; many are made as long as one year ahead, for example, conference halls for international events, hotel banquet rooms for wedding receptions, etc. The hotel or event company usually collects a deposit to confirm the booking.

For events planned during the MCO period, it would be unfair for hotels or event companies to forfeit the deposit when an event is cancelled. It is not that the client chooses not to hold the event, the MCO forces the decision. If the event can be postponed to a later date, the deposit should be kept and utilised in the future.

Loan and hire purchase agreements: Bank Negara Malaysia has announced a moratorium on loans for six months. This is a great move that has been welcomed by the business community. A Covid-19 law, however, could step further to regulate the mechanisms of the moratorium and recovery process after the six-month moratorium period.

In Singapore, the threshold for individual bankruptcy and a company’s winding-up will be increased and the time period of statutory notice also increased to six months if the Covid-19 law is passed there. In another words, it would be harder to make a person or company bankrupt during this tough time.

Under existing laws, many risk becoming bankrupt due to the cash flow issue. This could even happen to good companies with a lot of potential. A Malaysian Covid-19 law could avoid such legal massacres.

Legality of online virtual meetings: During the MCO period, many companies are holding online meetings as staff are working from home. Legal issues remain to be tested whether companies or organisations can hold online general meetings. Even after the MCO is lifted, mass gatherings would still be discouraged so companies and organisations should be allowed to hold general meetings online. This is the new normal we have to learn adapt to now.

Legality of witnessing the signing of legal documents online: Many legal documents in Malaysia – especially those involving the transfer or charge of properties – require signatures to be witnessed by a lawyer. In the new normal, the Covid-19 law should allow the act of signing to be witnessed by the lawyer watching online.

The concern arises whether the document signed during an online session is the same as the final document received by the lawyer. Such concerns can be addressed by the lawyer doing a verification after the document is received. If we are heading into an era where court hearings can be conducted online, witnessing requiring a physical presence should be relaxed.

It is timely to enact a Covid-19 law when Parliament next meets to save SMEs and the economy as a whole. Many SMEs will not be able to survive if contractual obligations have to be met during this Covid-19 crisis – and even after the MCO is lifted, businesses will need time to recover from it. Let us give them time to rebuild. Given such assistance, SMEs will emerge stronger and better in the future, which would be good for the country in general.

Stay strong and stay safe.

DATUK DR TEH TAI YONG, Vice-president, China-Asean Legal Corporation Centre (CALCC) and vice-president, Persatuan Usahawan Maju Malaysia (PUMM)

Published in: The Star on Saturday, 11 April 2020

Source: https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/04/11/malaysia-needs-to-enact-a-covid-19-law-to-help-the-economy-to-recover

WABAK Covid-19 bermula di negara China tiga bulan yang lalu dan kini telah menyerang dunia. Beribu nyawa terkorban dan beratus ribu orang dijangkiti penyakit yang sangat digeruni buat masa kini. Malaysia juga tidak lari dari terlibat dengan wabak yang mudah berjangkit ini. Justeru kerajaan Malaysia telah mengadakan Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan (Movement Control Order) bermula 18 -31 Mac 2020. Premis, pejabat, sekolah, universiti  kecuali perkhidmatan yang amat perlu seperti pasar, pasar raya, perbankan diarah tutup bagi tempoh tersebut. Perhimpunan orang ramai termasuk untuk ibadah sembahyang berjemaah di masjid dan surau juga dilarang dalam tempoh ini. Orang ramai diminta untuk tinggal di rumah agar wabak ini dapat ditangani dengan baik.

Dalam konteks Maqasid Syariah, Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan ini berperanan untuk memberi kebaikan kepada manusia sejagat dan menyelamat mereka daripada sebarang kemudaratan daripada wabak Covid-19.

Dalam membicarakan Maqasid Syariah, Ibn Ashur meluaskan pengertian Maqasid dengan menekankan penjagaan kerukunan masyarakat supaya manusia menikmati satu pencapaian sihat. Atas dasar inilah kepentingan utama Maqasid Syariah adalah untuk menjaga kemaslahatan dan menolak kemudaratan.

Lantaran dari itu, para sarjana dan fuqaha Islam menggariskan bahawa kehendak Syariah itu mesti berlandaskan Maqasid Syariah yang meliputi tiga keutamaan iaitu Dharuriyyat (essential), Hajiyyat (complimentary) dan Tahsiniyyat (embellishment).

Keutamaan Dharuriyyat merupakan kepentingan utama di mana sekira ia diabaikan boleh membawa kepada kemudaratan hidup manusia. Di bawah keutamaan ini, perkara yang menjadi sandaran manusia sama ada bersifat keagamaan dan keduniaan akan menjadi pincang seandainya ia tidak dilaksanakan.  Justeru memelihara agama (religion) nyawa (life), intelek (intellect), keturunan dan maruah (dignity and lineage) dan harta (property) menjadi lima nilai keutamaan dalam segala tindak tanduk manusia di dunia ini.

Secara umumnya, lima nilai utama di atas merupakan tonggak terhadap Dharuriyyat.  Atas dasar memelihara nyawa, Syariah memperkenalkan rukhsah (kelonggaran) di mana dalam keadaan darurat, perkara yang wajib boleh dikecualikan dari kewajipannya. Maka larangan terhadap perkara yang wajib adalah satu kemestian. Ini kerana membiarkan diri terdedah kepada bahaya adalah menyimpang dari ajaran Islam. Ini dijelaskan dalam ayat 195 Surah al-Baqarah: “Dan janganlah kamu sengaja mencampakkan diri kamu ke dalam bahaya kebinasaan”. Malah mengikut Kaedah Fiqh:” Tidak boleh mudarat dan tidak boleh memudaratkan”, maka larangan perhimpunan ramai adalah menepati hukum Syarak bagi menolak kemudaratan yang lebih besar. Atas dasar ini juga Kaedah Fiqh menetapkan “Menolak kemudaratan itu lebih utama daripada mendapatkan maslahah”.

Memelihara nyawa termasuk dalam keutamaan Dharuriyyat yang menjadi asas keutamaan Maqasid Syariah selepas agama. Melihat kepada kemudaratan yang timbul dari wabak Covid-19, kewajipan dan galakan beribadah di masjid dan surau tidak menjadi keutamaan lagi. Perhimpunan atas nama agama juga dilarang buat masa ini kerana ia akan membawa kepada kemudaratan manusia, khuatir ia boleh merebak. Bahkan larangan mengadakan solat Jumaat yang merupakan kewajipan juga dikuatkuasakan demi kelangsungan hidup manusia. Ini merupakan ketetapan yang dibuat oleh Jawatankuasa Muzakarah Khas Majlis Kebangsaan Bagi Hal Ehwal Ugama Islam Malaysia pada 15 Mac 2020 dan diikuti oleh Jawatankuasa Fatwa Negeri-negeri.

Fatwa mengenai larangan berhimpun untuk tujuan beribadah juga telah dikeluarkan di dunia Islam lain. Antaranya yang dikeluarkan oleh Haiah Kibar Ulama al-Azhar al-Syarif, Kesatuan Ulama Islam Sedunia, Majlis Fatwa Syarie, Emiriah Arab Bersatu (UAE) yang diketuai oleh Syeikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, Mufti Republik Tunisia, Syeikh ‘Uthman Battikh, Kementerian Wakaf Syria dan Kesatuan Ulama’ Syam dan Majlis Agama Islam Singapura sepakat menyatakan harus meninggalkan solat Jumaat dan solat berjemaah semasa wabak Covid-19 ini menular.

Dalam hal ini penulis suka memetik kupasan dalam Bayan Linnas Siri 225 mengenai Covid-19 yang merujuk kepada fatwa yang dikeluarkan oleh Syeikh Abdullah Bayyah. Pertama:menjadi kewajipan semua orang untuk bersama-sama dengan pihak berkuasa membendung wabak ini. Kedua: haram bagi mereka yang mengidap penyakit ini atau mengalami simptomnya keluar dari rumah. Mereka sewajibnya mendapat rawatan dan mestilah dikuarantin. Ketiga: diberi rukhsah (kelonggaran) bagi umat Islam untuk tidak menunaikan solat berjemaah, solat Jumaat, solat tarawih dan solat Hari Raya jika keadaan tidak mengizinkan kerana khuatir penularan wabak ini. Keempat: wajib mengikut ketetapan oleh pihak berkuasa Arab Saudi dalam melaksanakan ibadah Haji dan Umrah. Kelima: kewajipan memberi bantuan dana kepada pihak yang terlibat dalam menangani wabak ini. Keenam: semua pihak diseru untuk memberi pertolongan dan bantuan mengikut kepakaran masing-masing serta larangan menaikkan harga keperluan perubatan.

Ketaatan kepada pemerintah dalam Arahan Sekatan Perjalanan mulai 18-31 Mac 2020 adalah wajib dan berlandaskan hukum Syarak. Ini juga merujuk kepada satu Kaedah Fiqh: “Tindakan seorang ketua ke atas rakyat, berdasarkan kepada kemaslahatan”. Justeru itu, ia adalah selari dengan nas al-Quran seperti yang disebut dalam ayat 59 Surah al-Nisa’: “Wahai orang-orang yang beriman, taatlah kamu kepada Allah dan taatlah kamu kepada Rasulullah dan kepada “Ulil-Amri” (orang-orang yang berkuasa) dari kalangan kamu. Kemudian jika kamu berbantah-bantah (berselisihan) dalam sesuatu perkara, maka hendaklah kamu mengembalikannya kepada (Kitab) Allah (Al-Quran) dan (Sunnah) RasulNya – jika kamu benar beriman kepada Allah dan hari akhirat. Yang demikian adalah lebih baik (bagi kamu), dan lebih elok pula kesudahannya”.

Maka sebagai manusia yang waras, mengambil keutamaan Dharuriyyat, kita diwajibkan mengambil langkah yang sewajarnya demi memelihara nyawa sendiri dan manusia lain. Ketaatan kepada perkara yang makruf oleh pemerintah selagi mana ia tidak mungkar wajib ditaati.

Bebas News : 23.03.2020

Source: https://bebasnews.my/?p=32355