PETALING JAYA: Several NGOs, including electoral reform group Bersih 2.0, this evening questioned the need to suspend Parliament and halt all elections, following the declaration of an emergency this morning.
These groups pointed out that with there being no difference to the rules set under the various movement control orders (MCOs) in place across the many states, there seemed to be no need for an emergency to be declared.
“Everything seems to remain status quo under the terms of this emergency,” they said in a joint statement.
Bersih 2.0, along with Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim), Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall and Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia opined that elections can and should be held.
They said it could be carried out under strict pandemic SOPs and utilisation of remote or digital voting means to mitigate the risk of infections.
“However, the calling of discretionary elections or snap polls mid-term should be avoided in view of the pandemic,” they said.
The groups went on to say that even if the current government lost the majority, it would not automatically trigger an election as it was at the discretion of the King.
“Such discretion should be exercised by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and no politician can take this discretion away from His Majesty.”
They also said that since mandatory elections can be conducted safely as demonstrated by many countries, and the King had the discretion not to dissolve Parliament mid-term, “the suspension of elections with an emergency declaration is unjustified”.
Earlier today, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, declared a state of emergency to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The Palace said the Agong had consented for the emergency to last until Aug 1, or an earlier date if Covid-19 cases are reduced by then, following a meeting with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday evening.
The prime minister later said there will be no parliamentary or state assembly meetings until a later date set by the Agong, while the general election, state elections and by-elections also cannot be held during the emergency.
Retrieved from Free Malaysia Today