KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11 — Any Emergency declaration sought by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government would not be to contain the latest Covid-19 surge, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.
The Pekan MP waded into public debate over a much anticipated announcement by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, saying speculation that Emergency may be declared would only be for political purposes.
“If news reports are correct that the PN government has agreed to once again have an audience with the YDPA to ask for an emergency with the reason of wanting to fight Covid, then I believe this decision is based on politics and not to fight Covid,” the Pekan MP wrote in his Facebook page, referring to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
He attached a screenshot of an article published earlier this afternoon by The Star; citing unverified sources claiming that the Cabinet had discussed a proposal to invoke Emergency due to the latest spike in Covid-19 cases.
Najib pointed out that the government’s measures under the movement control order (MCO) in March and April last year were already very strict with army personnel also ordered to help control the situation, questioning what other measures were lacking to fight the Covid-19 pandemic during the MCO.
Najib also argued that Malaysia’s laws under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 were sufficient to deal with all efforts to control Covid-19 without having to declare an emergency or to suspend Parliament.
“If it is true that a request for emergency is made again, then there will be even more of the citizens that will build the perception that the government of the day only wants to maintain their political power, and not for the sake of the citizens’ interest,” he said in his statement.
Earlier this afternoon, The Star had cited sources in saying that the Covid-19 pandemic and the necessity of an emergency declaration were raised during the Cabinet meeting this morning, but said there were no details on the Cabinet’s decision.
The report had also said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will be meeting the Yang di-Pertuan Agong this afternoon to give a briefing to the ruler on the Cabinet meeting, while the National Security Council is set to meet this afternoon.
The Star cited a minister’s aide as saying that Muhyiddin’s priority is the Covid-19 pandemic and is concerned about how the country’s healthcare system is faring amid the continued spike in Covid-19 cases.
It is currently unclear if Muhyiddin’s government will be seeking for an emergency declaration as speculated.
Muhyiddin had previously failed to obtain the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s assent for an emergency declaration nationwide. Muhyiddin had on October 23, 2020 presented a request to the Ruler for an emergency declaration to fight the Covid-19 threat.
Istana Negara issued a statement last October 25 that the Yang di-Pertuan was of the opinion that there was no need at that point of time to declare a state of emergency for the entire or any parts of Malaysia, having noted that the government had managed the Covid-19 pandemic well and effectively and that it believes in the government’s capabilities to continue policies and enforcement action to curb Covid-19 from spreading.
Only localised emergencies have been declared by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on November 18, 2020 to defer by-election for the parliamentary seat of Batu Sapi in Sabah, and on December 16 to postpone the by-elections in the parliamentary seat of Gerik in Perak and the state seat of Bugaya in Sabah.
If not for those emergency declarations, the by-elections would have to be conducted despite the Covid-19 pandemic, due to legal provisions.
Malaysians have been waiting for Muhyiddin to announce the next step in the government’s Covid-19 measures since Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the PM would make an announcement.
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