Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa has challenged government critics to suggest alternatives to its plan to declare a state of emergency.
In a Facebook post, Annuar asked which laws could be used to avoid the Batu Sapi by-election or postpone the Sarawak election.
“The Sarawak assembly ends in a few months and an election must be held, but everyone is afraid of what happened in the Sabah election,” he said.
The Batu Sapi by-election is scheduled to be held on December 5, following the death of former law minister Liew Vui Keong on October 2.
The Sarawak legislative assembly’s term ends in June.
Annuar’s post comes as politicians and legal experts have questioned the need to declare a state of emergency to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the post, Annuar, an Umno Supreme Council member, also commented about political moves to bring down Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government at the next sitting of Parliament through a vote of no confidence.
“If this happens, the prime minister will have to dissolve Parliament and a general election has to be held, but the people don’t want an election because they fear the spread of Covid 19,” he said.
Speculation has been rife that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government is seeking to declare a state of emergency as Malaysia struggles to contain the spike in Covid-19 infection that has also hurt the economy.
Reports have so far suggested that Putrajaya is seeking a dubious so-called state of “partial emergency”, also dubbed as “economic, health, or political emergency”.
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.
Yesterday, Muhyiddin and several other government leaders attended an audience with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah at the latter’s Istana Abdulaziz in Kuantan.
However, no announcement was made following the audience.
Several lawyers have also cast their doubts over the feasibility of the rumoured so-called “partial emergency”.
Pointing to the Federal Constitution, constitutional experts said the country’s supreme document only provides for one type of emergency that would either cover the whole country or any state in its Article 150.
Article 150 in the Constitution handles the proclamation of emergency. Article 150(1) states that “if the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby the security, or the economic life, or public order in the Federation or any part thereof is threatened”, he may issue a proclamation of emergency.
The said proclamation must only be done with the advice of the Cabinet or the prime minister.
However, the lawyers also said that the details of such an emergency would be up to the government.
With an emergency proclaimed, the executive branch will have almost absolute authority over the running of the country in a crisis, without check and balance from the other two branches: the legislative and judiciary.