Monday, 18 January, 2021


Malaysian King Declares State of Emergency Amid Rising COVID-19 Infections

A man watches a live telecast of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's speech in Kuala Lumpur A man watches a live telecast of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's speech in Kuala Lumpur
Bennie Garza | 12 January, 2021, 20:23

Thankfully, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin shared the terms of the state of emergency, to help put things into perspective for Malaysians.

"This Emergency gives absolute power to the prime minister to do whatever he pleases and the presidential council is anxious that it will hinder the economy", the statement read. He pledged to call a general election once the crisis has eased and it is safe to hold polls.

The move should reduce, at least for now, some of the political uncertainty hovering over Muhyiddin since his unelected alliance came to power with a razor thin majority in March following the collapse of the previous coalition led by Malaysia's veteran leader Mahathir Mohamad.

The state of emergency allows the state to take over private hospitals and deploy additional military and police.

Muhyiddin's politically divided ruling coalition has left him with a shaky hold on power. The number of daily infections reached a record of over 3,000 last week.

"The judiciary will continue to be the beacon of justice in our country and I will never interfere in the business of the court", he said in a special address in conjunction with the proclamation of the emergency aired live today.

King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said at the time that existing laws were sufficient to halt the virus spread. A nationwide travel ban has also been implemented. The country has reported over 138,000 virus cases and 555 deaths. The health ministry also said it has identified the first case of a highly contagious United Kingdom variant in the country. The patient tested positive on December 28.

The council insisted that calling an Emergency would have sufficed for a specific parliamentary constituency or state assembly seat as was done before, alluding to the Grik and Batu Sapi by-elections which were postponed due to Covid-19.

Muhyiddin assured investors that the period of emergency will provide "much needed calm and stability, as well as enable us to focus on economic recovery and regeneration".

"A dark day for democracy", he tweeted.

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