Will Malaysia declare emergency in its battle against COVID-19?

SPECULATION is rife that the Government will declare a state of emergency tonight in a move to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic nationwide.

The Star reported that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muyhiddin Yassin has sought an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at Istana Abdulaziz in Kuantan, Pahang this afternoon to communicate the Cabinet’s decision to propose the dissolution of the Dewan Rakyat following its special meeting that ended at around 1pm today.

Muhyiddin is expected to present the proposal to the King for consideration at 5pm, according to the report.

“Highly-placed sources said Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah would have the final say as to when the state of emergency will take effect,” added the report.

If an emergency is declared, Malaysia would probably be the first country in the world to do so in the fight against the ‘invisible enemy’.

Assuming that an emergency does come into effect tonight, the Government has an obligation to quickly address the anxiety of its citizens as to how their livelihood will be further affected considering a vast majority of Malaysians have already been impoverished from the loss of employment or having to endure pay cuts.

On the hindsight, the declaration of emergency could still be accepted to a certain degree if it were truly intended to better manage a health crisis but should never be abused at all cost to subdue any pending political crisis.

If emergency powers need to be invoked to avoid further political instability, a concurrent plan must be laid out for more government assistance for the people, and a timeline as to when those powers will be returned to Parliament and the people.

At this juncture, not all voters are in favour of a snap election, but the people shouldn’t be used as an excuse or treated as a pawn for politicians to stay in power either.

The “I’m doing this for the people” line shouldn’t be the war cry between feuding political camps.

Alas, a minister cited by the Free Malaysia Today portal said not everyone was agreeable to declaring an emergency because of the implications on the economy and how it would be perceived by the people.

The minister said he believes there is concern over the possibility that the budget may not be passed.

If the budget is not passed, it would signal that the MPs have lost confidence in the prime minister and the government. – Oct 23, 2020


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