It’s not just the Opposition opposing it.
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In the past two days, rumours that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is seeking emergency powers from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong have been rife.
Although there has been no confirmation of the news, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah himself has stated that the Conference of Rulers is meeting at Istana Negara today to discuss proposals presented to him by Muhyiddin.
Meanwhile, the country’s members of parliament have voiced their disagreement for the move.
Semporna MP Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal
Shafie has stated that he is against declaring a state of emergency for Malaysia, suggesting that unity would be the best solution in these trying times.
The collapsing domestic and global economy which is devastating and affecting the livelihood of every Malaysian is the real enemy. I plead to all leaders in our beloved country to put aside our differences and work as one to overcome the greatest challenge that we are facing, and to put King, country and the people first before all other issues.
We may not agree on many things most of the time, but at this moment, I think we can agree on one thing – we love our country. May Allah give us all the wisdom and guidance to choose the right and correct path for the benefit of the country.
Gua Musang MP Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah
According to Tengku Razaleigh, the country’s already battered economy will be wrecked if the government declares an emergency.
If the prime minister were to get his way in imposing the proposed state of emergency, as an economist myself and the former Minister of Finance and former Minister of International Trade & Industry (and former Chairman of World Bank & IMF), I can say with some certainty that it may be the ‘final nail in the coffin’ of our already battered economy. Local and foreign investors would shun us completely.
He opined that the government appeared to have determination in containing the pandemic at the start of the outbreak, adding that this resolve seems to have waned since then.
Over time and lately, there seems to be a lack of a coordinated and integrated approach in dealing with the crisis in what appears to be a lack of clear and exemplary leadership by the government. There are also double standards on the enforcement and penalty meted out, one for the ordinary rakyat and another for government ministers and well-connected people.
Clarifying that he is not questioning the Prime Minister’s right in seeking such a declaration, Tengku Razaleigh said he doubts the basis, rationale, timing, and motive for the move.
The public and politicians across the divide, except for a few recalcitrants, are cooperating with the government on the measures and SOPs. Our Parliamentary system of democracy is working well and there are no mass rebellion or riots on our streets. I cannot see any honest basis for such a request while I can only suspect non-honourable motives behind it.
Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman
Meanwhile, Syed Saddiq has pleaded with the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to not suspend Parliament by way of an emergency declaration.
Highlighting that there are several other pertinent issues that need to be raised in Parliament, Syed Saddiq reminded all politicians that they have jobs to do.
Please don’t suspend Parliament. We are a democratic nation. I want to raise many issues in Parliament. I am paid to do my job.
Syed Saddiq has shared that he wants to discuss the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional 2.0 (BPN 2.0) for university students, the reduction of university fees in the light of online learning, and a special aid for stranded Malaysians working in Singapore.
He has instead urged the government to consider the concept of “confidence & supply agreement” instead of declaring a State of Emergency.
Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang
Iskandar Putri MP Lim Kit Siang has criticised Muhyiddin amidst these rumours, calling him desperate and mediocre for wanting to invoke Article 150 of the Federal Constitution.
How can there be justification for the imposition of a state of emergency in Sarawak, Melaka, Johor, Putrajaya, Terengganu, Kelantan, Pahang and Perlis which have all less than 100 Covid-19 active cases each? Has the government lost control of the Covid-19 pandemic in Kedah, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Perak and Negri Sembilan as to justify the proclamation of emergency under Article 150 of the Constitution for these states?
He also highlighted how information about the alleged plan has only come from Sultan Abdullah, while Muhyiddin has been largely mum on the subject.
Until today, Muhyiddin has not shared with Malaysians his plan to suspend Parliament and put Malaysia into a state of emergency and Malaysians have to rely on the rumour mills, which have worked overtime since Friday, and the social media to piece together as best as possible what was going on in high affairs of state. Most unusual and uncharacteristically, Malaysians are getting more information from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong than from the prime minister on the prime minister’s proposal.
Aside from mentioning the “confidence & supply” proposal as well, Kit Siang also appeared to suggest a temporary truce among the MPs from separate parties to allow Muhyiddin to develop a plan of action to ensure his administration.
I suggest Muhyiddin be given time until Budget Day on Nov 6 to determine whether it is possible to ensure political stability through the ‘confidence and supply’ proposal or other possible options so that there could be an ‘all-of-government’ and ‘whole-of-society’ war against the Covid-19 epidemic led by the 222 MPs in Parliament.
Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz
Tengku Razaleigh is not the only BN MP to have made his stance against declaring a state of emergency as reports say Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz vehemently opposes the idea of declaring an emergency.
Calling it a “dictatorship through the backdoor”, the Umno lawmaker has instead pledged to persuade his colleagues to back Muhyiddin when the Budget is tabled in November.
I will persuade the backbenchers to heed the Yang Dipertuan Agong’s advice that we focus on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic so that whatever it is, it benefits the people.
The former law minister has guaranteed Muhyiddin the votes of 23 Barisan Nasional MPs including from himself.
I will ensure 23 BN backbenchers support the (2021) Budget and all the Bills because we don’t want to have a dictatorship through the backdoor.
Muhyiddin will need the support of more than just the 23 MPs to remain in power.
Umno Deputy-President Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan
While other BN MPs have not made their stands known, UMNO as a party may be against an Emergency as acting-president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan has urged the government to use a democratic and scientific approach in battling the pandemic instead.
Malaysia is not in a state of economy, health and security systems paralysis. In fact, the country has been in a focused phase of economic recovery, stimulated by various stimulus packages in line with the interests of the people, with a well-functioning health system.
Tok Mat, as he is affectionately known, highlighted that the local healthcare system has already proven its ability to deal with the pandemic.
People affected by this crisis continue to adhere to gazetted health protocols. In fact, Malaysians continue to strive to empower themselves with jobs and businesses for survival.
He added that anything that ignores science, undermines the economy and the role of the constitution, will put the country and the people of Malaysia in a more difficult situation.
I call on the government to address this crisis with focus, constitutionally and intensify all efforts to educate the community based on science and data. This pandemic will only be overcome with a scientific approach, economic recovery and compliance with the constitution.
Langkawi MP and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad has also spoken out on the issue, as have Opposition leader and Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, as well as a number of other MPs.
Regardless, for the time being, we’d have to try to avoid speculating on the matter and wait for the Conference of Rulers to state what was discussed during their meeting.
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