Emergency: How convenient it is for the embattled Prime Minister

By Charles Santiago


LET’s get this straight. Yes, the Government needs to buck up to nip the rising cases of COVID-19 but no, it does not need to declare an Emergency to do its job right, for once.

The combination of movement control order (MCO) and an Emergency proclamation is to extend Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s political lifeline, given that he has lost Dewan Rakyat majority and more Umno lawmakers are considering withholding support for the premier.

Isn’t this rather telling? The Executive functions together with the judiciary, but the Legislature is technically suspended till further notice?

The role of Parliament is critical at this time in order to ensure transparency, human rights and democracy in the affairs of the State.

This is a clever way for the Executive to bypass all forms of accountability and good governance practices.

We are not an island. The world is watching. EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EUROCHAM Malaysia) CEO Sven Schneider has said there are many concerns about Malaysia as a viable investment destination.

Warning by business leaders ignored

He also said “a few nice words and window-dressing” would not make the mark.

The international business chamber chief had earlier warned that a total lockdown could cause the country’s economy to collapse.

It is therefore ironic that Muhyiddin is using the Emergency to justify regenerating the economy.

Contrary to what the Prime Minister says, jobs and business losses will increase and might lead the country further into poverty and hopelessness.

I watched Muhyiddin’s remarks about empowering the military, police and immigration to detain illegal immigrants (PATI).

I can only hope this would not translate into a witch hunt against undocumented workers and refugees in the country.

In fact, I hope Muhyiddin will make that clear because ensuring the safety and protection of migrants, refugees and stateless persons in the country are key to overcoming rising COVID-19 infections.

In short, initiatives by the Government must be focused on combating rising number of cases and looking at durable ways to support people and businesses, prevent job losses, address mental health provisions, prevent suicides and surge in domestic violence, protect vulnerable communities, ensure food aid reaches targeted communities including refugees and migrants, look into increased support for women-lead households and enhanced support for our frontliners.

And it cannot be about Muhyiddin using state powers to secure his position. – Jan 12, 2021


Charles Santiago is the DAP MP for Klang.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


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