The government does not have to declare an emergency to battle Covid-19 as existing laws are sufficient to control the spread of the virus, said Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“Actually, without the emergency order, the government has enough power to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. Nothing is lacking, there is full power,” he said at a press conference in Putrajaya today.
The nationwide state of emergency, which received the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s consent, was announced by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on live television this morning.
It follows the reinstatement of the movement-control order (MCO) until January 26 in six of the country’s worst Covid-19 affected states, which Muhyiddin announced yesterday evening. Six other states will also be under the conditional MCO.
Dr Mahathir added that Malaysians are generally obedient and will comply with lockdown directives in order to curb the coronavirus’ spread.
“Our people are obedient to the government, unlike (the people) of Europe and the United States who protest if there are any restrictions.
“In Malaysia, the government says ‘lockdown’ and the people lockdown. One or two may break the law, but action can be taken.”
Dr Mahathir said the government should provide further clarification on how the emergency order will be enforced.
“So far, we do not know what the emergency means. Does it mean we cannot do anything?
“Cannot speak, reprimand, or to have parliamentary sessions? (Everything) will be made through decree,” he added.
The state of emergency will last until August 1. Elections and Parliament will be suspended, while the government has the power to craft emergency laws to use public healthcare facilities and take land and other measures to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
An independent committee comprising government and opposition MPs as well as health experts will also be formed to recommend to the king if the Covid-19 situation warrants a lifting of the emergency sooner.
The emergency proclamation was made as Muhyiddin’s position comes under increasing threat from Umno.
In these two days, two of the party’s lawmakers – Machang MP Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub and Padang Rengas MP Nazri Abdul Aziz – had withdrawn their support for him. Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah last November said he would not vote on the government’s Budget for 2021.
Muhyiddin now has the support of 109 MPs in the 222-seat Parliament. Two seats are currently vacant due to the death of their incumbents. – TMI
Jan 12, Emergency highlights