Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan has shot down Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s justification to declare an emergency, calling it “unnecessary and not the best way” to delay elections amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Expressing similar sentiment is Umno’s rival DAP, which pointedly accused Muhyiddin of trying to prop up his government through an emergency as he can no longer prove his majority in the Dewan Rakyat.
Muhyiddin had yesterday said the only way to stop the upcoming Batu Sapi by-election and Sarawak state polls was through an emergency.
However, Mohamad said the Batu Sapi by-election can easily be averted if all other parties adopted BN’s position not to contest in it.
“It is known that BN won’t contest in Batu Sapi and I call on other parties to also give way to Warisan to contest in the Batu Sapi parliamentary seat unchallenged.
“This is out of respect to the late Batu Sapi MP Liew Vui Keong and also to avoid a by-election,” he said in a statement today.
The Batu Sapi by-election was called following the passing of Liew, who was also the Warisan chairperson. Nomination day is set on Nov 23 while polling day is on Dec 5.
However, if no one challenges Warisan’s candidate on nomination day, then the candidate will get a walkover and is considered the winner without an election.
“If this happens, there won’t be a need for the Batu Sapi by-election,” Mohamad said.
Likewise, Mohamad pointed out that the Sarawak state assembly’s term will only expire on June 7 next year, after which it will automatically dissolve, and the state election must be called within 60 days.
This means the Sarawak election can be delayed until August 2021, he said, giving a 10-month time frame to bring the Covid-19 pandemic under control.
“Imagine the implications if an emergency is declared to avoid the Sarawak election when it can be held at the latest, after 10 months.
“I am confident in the Sarawak chief minister’s wisdom and I am certain he will consider the various dimensions of public interest when he dissolves the state assembly,” he added.
Mohamad stated that Malaysia has a good democratic system and it must continue to function even during trying times.
As such, he said all quarters should respect the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decision to reject Muhyiddin’s request to declare a state of emergency.
Echoing this was DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng who said Muhyiddin must uphold the royal decree rejecting a state of emergency.
Instead of loyally upholding the royal decree as required in his capacity as prime minister, Muhyiddin has tried to justify the need for an emergency and appears to have not given up on making a similar request in the future.
“Muhyiddin’s emergency rationale to prevent the upcoming Batu Sapi by-election in Sabah, and a possible Sarawak state election from being held on fears of worsening the spread of Covid-19 beggars belief,” he said.
Lim added that many legal jurists and pundits have also disagreed that an emergency is the only way to postpone elections.
“Instead, many see the request for an emergency proclamation as an attempt to reinforce and entrench his tenuous hold on power.
“Clearly Muhyiddin has lost his majority in government with daily threats from Umno to withdraw support from his Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
“For this reason, he does not want Parliament to sit, fears a no-confidence motion and that the 2021 budget may not be passed,” Lim said in a separate statement.
“An emergency is the simplest and easiest remedy to overcome his political problems and weaknesses,” he added.
Lim warned that an emergency would have serious implications on the economy, investor confidence, national unity and the democratic character of the country.
“Muhyiddin should stop prioritising his own political interests of survival but focus instead on uniting the people to come together to battle the third wave of Covid-19 infections.
“The PN government can begin to act responsibly, starting with a unity budget 2021 that encompasses all inputs and incorporates policies from outside the government that benefits the ordinary rakyat to save jobs, businesses and livelihoods,” he said.
The third wave of Covid-19 was accelerated by the Sabah election, which concluded on Sept 26. – Malaysiakini