THERE is only one reason for the emergency just declared by the king at the behest of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin – to keep Muhyiddin in power until August 1, a period of over six months from now.
The declaration of the movement control order (MCO) by Muhyiddin yesterday, which has the effect of law, is a clear demonstration that there is no reason to impose an emergency to fight Covid-19 and that there are already laws in place to take all necessary measures, including a total lockdown.
This emergency comes just days after an Umno MP declared that he was withdrawing his support for Muhyiddin, sparking speculation that others will follow suit. With that, Muhyiddin effectively lost his majority, with the 220-strong House (after two deaths) was tied at 110 for each side.
This would have meant that, if any more MPs withdraw support, his majority will be lost in Parliament. The thing to remember is, under the circumstances, it may not even be necessary to call for elections.
Muhyiddin is not required to recommend to the king to hold elections – all he needs to do is to step down and see if someone else can form a government by getting a majority of MPs.
In his address, Muhyiddin emphasised that the reason for the imposition of an emergency is to avoid elections.
While Muhyiddin maintained in his address today to the people that a state of emergency is necessary to fight Covid-19, outlining a number of ordinances that can be passed, that’s not true, because existing legislation gives a lot of powers to contain a pandemic without the need to declare an emergency.
The government has the power to impose a wide range of measures – from lockdowns to recovery MCOs and anything in between as well as the power to call in the police for enforcement actions.
The federal constitution allows the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to declare an emergency, which is conventionally done only on the advice of the prime minister.
Article 150 (1) reads: 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 making therein a declaration to that effect.
In this instance, the king considered the advice of the prime minister and briefings from Chief Secretary Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali, Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun, Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, Election Commission head Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador and Armed Forces Chief Tan Sri Affendi Buang.
During the time the emergency is in force, Parliament and all state assemblies will be suspended while there will be no elections at all. This means that, even if Muhyiddin loses the majority in Parliament, he can’t be removed, effectively suspending the democratic processes in the country.
He effectively takes charge of all states, too, except in matters pertaining to Islamic law and native customary rights, in the case of Sabah and Sarawak. That means the Sarawak elections will not take place.
This sets a very bad precedent for future prime ministers who may want to use a declaration of emergency to stay in power, even when the situation does not warrant it, effectively an abuse of the constitutional process.
The time that Muhyiddin has bought via the emergency to stay in power will give leeway to make deals with MPs, a lot of whom are open to all sorts of deals, so as to enable him to stay on as prime minister even after the emergency.
The emergency gives Muhyiddin considerable powers. Article (2b) says: if at any time while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, except when both Houses of Parliament are sitting concurrently, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is satisfied that certain circumstances exist, which render it necessary for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate such ordinances as circumstances appear to him to require.
Article (4) says: while a Proclamation of Emergency is in force, the executive authority of the Federation shall, notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, extend to any matter within the legislative authority of a State and to the giving of directions to the Government of a State or to any officer or authority thereof.
This is a dangerous amount of power to give to a prime minister who came in through the backdoor and whose party only controls 31 MPs, including himself, most of them obtained through defections from other parties. Styrketrening kontra kondisjonstrening | Kvinnelig kroppsbygging kvalitet clomiphene citrate med forsendelse bodybuilding motivasjon – aim high 2017 Recall that Bersatu won just 13 seats in the last elections.
Whichever way one looks at it, the imposition of an emergency to fight Covid-19 is unnecessary and is being done merely to keep a backdoor government and Muhyiddin in power. Nothing more.
That can only be bad for the country, now and in future. – The Vibes, January 12, 2021
P. Gunasegaram endorses the saying attributed to Lord Acton: power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. He is consultant editor at The Vibes and executive director of The Sekhar Institute