Sunday, 6 Dec 2020

Malaysian PM Muhyiddin's emergency proposal disproportionate and unjustified, say rivals, civil groups

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s proposal to invoke an emergency rule in Malaysia to rein in a spike in coronavirus cases has been met with a frosty response from both political rivals and civil society leaders, who branded the move disproportionate and unjustified.

Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Saturday (Oct 24) that there is no breakdown of laws in Malaysia to justify an emergency.

“Countries with more severe Covid-19 problems have not declared emergency for the whole country but only for affected areas,” said Tun Dr Mahathir, a two-time premier and Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s immediate predecessor.

Dr Mahathir claimed that the government’s move was an attempt to deal with the political situation in the country.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s majority in Parliament remains in doubt, and it remains to be seen if his government’s budget could win a Parliamentary vote when it is tabled in November.

The Prime Minister is also the subject of a push from several lawmakers to have a no-confidence motion tabled in Parliament, including one from his own Perikatan Nasional coalition.

Opposition party Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) also called on Mr Muhyiddin not to use the emergency to “save his political career”.

Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 similarly criticised the move as an “overkill” in a statement on Friday.

Malaysia has been experiencing an exponential surge in Covid-19 cases since late September, following the Sabah state elections. Around one third of the country is already subjected to partial lockdowns in efforts to deal with the spike in cases.

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