KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 23): There will be no announcement with regard to the rumoured proclamation of emergency by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin tonight.
It is understood that Muhyiddin is on his way back to Kuala Lumpur, following the conclusion of his meeting with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah at Istana Abdulaziz in Kuantan this evening.
According to Bernama, the vehicle carrying the prime minister was seen entering the compound of the palace at 4.40pm, escorted by the security team and several Pahang official cars, and left at around 7.10pm.
Bernama was made to understand that the entourage was leaving straight to the Kuantan Armed Forces base to board a plane back to Kuala Lumpur.
Speculation has run rife since earlier today that a national emergency, which could entail the suspension of Parliament, may be declared. The emergency, however, may be construed to be declared due to the unsettling Covid-19 outbreak in Malaysia, which has seen over 700 new cases reported daily in the past week.
The Parliament is scheduled to be in session starting from Nov 2 until Dec 15, during which Budget 2021 is expected to be tabled. It is also worth noting that proposals of a no-confidence vote against the prime minister have also been sent to the Parliament by various members of Parliament.
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today accused Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s government of resorting to undemocratic means to stay in power following reports that the administration was seeking to declare a state of emergency during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Anwar said the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, knowing it would fail to demonstrate majority support in Parliament, is using the Covid-19 crisis as an excuse to justify its abuse of power.
He noted that a state of emergency was only declared when there is a threat to national security, adding that a proclamation under such circumstances is nothing more than the descent into dictatorship and authoritarianism when the government is itself the source of that threat.
“By seeking emergency powers the illegitimate PN government reveals its sheer incompetence in handling Covid-19 health and economic crisis.
While the rest of Asia is looking for ways to manage the virus and reopen their economies safely, Malaysia is heading in the opposite direction.
“We have yet to see a solid strategy to handle the crisis and on the back of growing criticism, the government thinks a receding democratic power is the best strategy,” he said in a statement here.
Instead of seeking to implement emergency measures to curb the parliamentary process, Anwar said what the country needed was transparency, accountability and firm action by the various ministries in overcoming the crisis.
“The government has failed to provide strong leadership in handling this crisis and is instead resorting to undemocratic means to stay in power,” he added.
He also strongly advised Muhyiddin to reconsider the legacy of such actions taken out of self-interest and selfishness.
Friday, 23 Oct 2020 03:34 PM MYT
BY DEBRA CHONG
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is understood to be seeking an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to be conferred special emergency powers during the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sources told Malay Mail that the prime minister had rushed out of Putrajaya to Kuantan, Pahang after chairing this morning’s special Cabinet meeting.
Speculation had been rife since early this morning that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government may declare a state of emergency as Malaysia struggles to contain the daily spike in Covid-19 infections that has also hurt the economy.
It is unclear what the emergency powers being sought are at the moment as the breadth and scope under a state of emergency are far ranging.
Among them include the suspension of Parliament and elections, which provides for a layer of accountability from decision makers to elected representatives.
The Cabinet meeting in Putrajaya this morning was attended by several other government officials including Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador, Armed Forces Chief General Tan Sri Affendi Buang. The latter two are also part of the National Security Council (NSC).
In a state of emergency, matters are decided largely by the prime minister on the advice of the NSC. However, this will depend on the powers being sought.
Some news agencies have suggested the King could take charge of government and act on the advice of an emergency Cabinet, which could be the present line-up or a new one altogether.
Singapore paper Straits Times (ST) quoted several anonymous sources saying the meeting was to discuss several proposals on dealing with the upcoming Budget 2021 tabling next month, where it is anticipated the PN’s spending proposals will be challenged by the Opposition.
PN — a loose alliance of political parties chiefly comprising leaders from Bersatu, Umno and PAS — took power in March following the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration but continues to be plagued by political strife both internally and externally eight months on.
PN’s 116-seat majority in the Dewan Rakyat gives it very little room to steer in Parliament, especially if just two MPs were to abstain or be indisposed during a vote.
Several news agencies have speculated that the government may not invoke a state of emergency or darurat as it is better known in Malay, but couch it euphemistically to avoid sending the country into a tailspin.
One of these terms may be to call it an “economic emergency”, to thwart the possibility of snap polls being forced and to provide more time for the ruling PN to rein in the infections without being distracted by political instability.
THE cabinet has decided to implement an emergency amid political instability and the Covid-19 pandemic, a source told The Malaysian Insight.
“Seems like a done deal,” said the source privy to the three-hour special cabinet meeting in Putrajaya this morning.
Speculation mounts emergency may be declared in Malaysia to avert snap polls amid Covid-19
KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s Cabinet has been locked in a special meeting since Friday (Oct 23) morning, with the government leaders discussing proposals to ensure that the upcoming Budget session in Parliament does not result in snap elections amid the resurgent wave of coronavirus infections.
Sources with knowledge of these options told The Straits Times that an “economic emergency” could be proclaimed to ensure that government spending to curb Covid-19 – which has seen total cases doubling this month alone – is not jeopardised by an increasingly unstable political atmosphere.
“It will not be similar to the curfews and military presence we had after the 1969 race riots.
“Instead, normal life under the Movement Control Order (MCO) will continue without politics getting in the way of dealing with a health crisis,” said one source on the condition of anonymity as the matters are official government secrets.
The special Cabinet meeting on Friday is also being attended by the Armed Forces Chief and Attorney General.
ST understands that they were consulted earlier in the week after high-level meetings saw health officials vehemently put forward their case to ensure that national elections do not happen until the outbreak is contained.
The polls in easternmost state Sabah last month – which was held even as new infection clusters emerged there – was a key factor in Malaysia recording unprecedented numbers of new cases this month.
The country has seen over 800 daily new infections reported several times this week, far more than previous highs of just over 200.
Election Commission chief Abdul Ghani Salleh had also said on Oct 13 that “in light of the outbreak, we urge, if possible, that no election be held during this period”.
ST has learnt that less hawkish options, such as reaching across the political divide for a “unity budget”, have also been floated, with the Democratic Action Party (DAP) being its chief proponent from the opposition.
However, some government leaders are uncomfortable with leaving their fate in the hands of political rivals, especially as many MPs in ruling Malay Muslim parties have vowed not to cooperate with the Chinese-dominated DAP they claim is masterminding an agenda to undermine the interest of Malaysia’s majority community.
The Federal Constitution allows for an emergency to be called under Article 150, with the assent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the federation’s Supreme Ruler.
ST understands that several state rulers – nine monarchs who take turns as Agong – have been made aware of the possibility of special powers being conferred to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government.
This comes after a month-long political imbroglio when Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim claimed to have a “formidable majority” on Sept 23.
But Umno president Zahid Hamidi, who leads the largest component of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, finally backed away on Wednesday from last week’s threat to withdraw support for Tan Sri Muhyiddin.
The situation is still considered fluid enough that Budget 2021, to be tabled on Nov 6, might fail, as PN only has 113 out of 222 MPs.
Mr Muhyiddin’s administration would fall if it fails to approve government spending and there is no certainty that there will be a replacement as Datuk Seri Anwar is unable to reconcile the differences between his ally DAP and Umno.
An emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak would see Parliament being suspended and the executive arm being given powers to make rules deemed necessary to ensure public security.