Tuesday, 1 Dec 2020

Malaysia's King rejects PM Muhyiddin’s state of emergency plan

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, on Sunday (Oct 25) declined to declare a state of emergency in the country at this time, after meeting other state rulers to discuss Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s proposal for emergency measures to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The government has managed the pandemic well and effectively and the King believes the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin can continue implementing its policies and enforcement measures to curb the spread of the pandemic,” said the royal comptroller Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin in a statement issued by the National Palace on Sunday.

“There is no need  at this time for His Majesty to declare an emergency in this country or any part of Malaysia.”

The Palace’s remarks on Sunday appear to endorse Mr Muhyiddin’s government, despite rejecting its proposal for emergency measures.

The King called on parliamentarians to cease all politicking and not to destabilise the existing government. He also stressed that Budget 2021, that will be tabled in Parliament on Nov 6, is crucial in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic and revitalising the economy.

“… there is no need for MPs to continue irresponsible actions that can threaten the stability of the existing government”, the statement said.

The Cabinet decision to request for emergency measures had come amid growing uncertainty over Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s control of Parliament ahead of a vote on next year’s Budget. 

Mr Muhyiddin’s Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition governs with a slim majority of 113 MPs in the 222-strong Lower House, and faces several no-confidence motions from his rivals.

He also faces a challenge from Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim who said in late September that he has a “formidable majority” to form a new government. 

Meanwhile Umno, the largest party in PN, had threatened to leave the alliance, although it later withdrew its threats and declared its full support for PN.

Emergency measures, government sources say, would have forestalled a Budget vote, and the need for the country to hold a general election during a pandemic, in the event Mr Muhyddin’s government fails to pass the Budget and prove its majority.

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