Malaysia Declares State of Emergency to Curb Rising Cases of COVID-19

Malaysia’s king declared a nationwide state of emergency on Jan. 12 in an attempt to slow down the rise of COVID-19 cases in the Southeast Asian country.

Malaysia’s king declared a nationwide state of emergency on Jan. 12 in an attempt to slow down the rise of COVID-19 cases in the Southeast Asian country.

According to a statement from the national palace, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah agreed to a request from Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to declare a state of emergency until Aug. 1, but it could be lifted earlier if the number of daily cases is lowered and placed under control.

In a televised address, Muhyiddin announced the suspension of parliament for a certain period of time, granting his government the power to introduce laws without approval.

“Let me assure you, the civilian government will continue to function. The emergency proclaimed by the king is not a military coup and curfew will not be enforced,” Muhyiddin said.

Muhyiddin also said that elections will not take place during the emergency, but he assured that it will be held as soon as it is safe to do so.

According to Muhyiddin, the emergency period will give Malaysia “much needed calm and stability.”

However, critics said that the move was Muhyiddin’s attempt to cling to power amid political turmoil in the country.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s coalition Pakatan Harapan said in a statement that Muhyiddin was using the pandemic to retain control of his administration. They also questioned if the state of emergency was necessary, claiming that laws to curb the spread of COVID-19 already existed and were sufficient.

“We also see the move to suspend parliament and state legislatures… as affecting checks and balance, inhibiting the nation’s democracy and denying the people’s voices,” Pakatan Harapan stated.

The declaration of emergency comes a day after the announcement of a two-week lockdown in Kuala Lumpur and five states.


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