Pakatan Harapan lawmakers have opposed declaring an “emergency”, deeming it unnecessary as existing laws were sufficient to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Soon after news of the plan broke, they came out in force to accuse Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin of using the emergency to suspend the Federal Constitution and avoid a snap election.
The move, expected to be announced soon, comes amid both rising Covid-19 cases and political pressure against the premier from both internal and external forces.
Taking to Twitter, former health minister and Amanah Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad said an emergency was not needed.
DAP Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran pointed out that countries with far higher Covid-19 cases did not resort to such a move.
DAP Bakri MP Yeo Bee Yin said that using the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) was sufficient to control the pandemic.
She further questioned if the prime minister was using an emergency to cling on to his position.
PKR Kota Anggerik state assemblyperson Najwan Halimi similarly questioned if the move was to keep the Perikatan Nasional government in power and to prevent Muhyiddin from losing a majority in the Dewan Rakyat.
DAP senator Liew Chin Tong cautioned the government against “short-circuiting” democracy as it would have negative effects on the nation.
PKR Tanjong Malim MP Chang Lih Kang also warned that an emergency would harm the economy.
As of 5pm, the word “emergency” and its Bahasa Malaysia equivalent “darurat” were the top trending topics on Malaysian Twitter.
The term “Muhyiddin out”, representing a rejection of the prime minister, was also trending.
Meanwhile, MCA secretary-general Chong Sin Woon noted that it was up to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to declare an emergency.
“The (Covid-19) epidemic is getting serious and the head of state (Yang di-Pertuan Agong) decides whether to issue a state of emergency,” he wrote in Mandarin in a Facebook post.
Separately, electoral watchdog Bersih said a state of emergency that involves the suspension of Parliament and civil liberties would be tantamount to a “self-coup” by Muhyiddin’s government in order to remain in power.
“A state of emergency allows for the Agong-appointed government to make ordinances that will have the same force and effect as an act of Parliament, and it shall continue in full force and effect as if it is an act of Parliament until it is revoked and annulled,” said Bersih in a statement by its steering committee members.
It added that any such ordinances could not be challenged in court, on top of granting the federal government the power to overrule state governments.
“Bersih 2.0 would like to appeal to the politicians to put aside their differences and work together with a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement.
“This would mean that the opposition would agree not to vote against the PN government in votes of confidence or budgetary matters while reserving the right to oppose other legislations,” said the group.
Such an agreement would then ensure that any Covid-19 relief budget scheduled to be tabled in the Parliament session beginning Nov 2 would go through, and preserve stability in the House.
Meanwhile, the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) stressed that there is no necessity to declare a state of emergency in current times.
“KLSCAH urges all individuals and groups to act responsibly and refrain from promoting views that a state of emergency would be proclaimed in response to the political situation.
“A proclamation of emergency will send shock waves to the economy, causing market panics and crashes, as it will be read internationally and domestically as a sign of worsening political turmoil,” it said.
It has so far been confirmed that there will be no live announcement from the prime minister tonight, following an earlier audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at the palace in Kuantan.
Retrieved from Malaysiakini