Tuesday, March 9, 2021

It’s dictatorship, says Anwar as health emergency looms

He accuses the government of 'resorting to undemocratic means to stay in power'.

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PKR’s Anwar Ibrahim today accused Muhyiddin Yassin of bringing the country into “dictatorship and authoritarianism”, ahead of a widely expected speech by the prime minister tonight to suspend Parliament using the Agong’s constitutional powers to declare a state of emergency.

Anwar, who recently failed in his plan to engineer the defection of MPs including from Umno to topple Muhyiddin’s government, also labelled the current government as “lacking legitimacy”, accusing it of using the Covid-19 crisis to “justify its abuse of power”.

“A state of emergency is declared when there is a threat to our national security. But when the government is itself the source of that threat then a state of emergency is nothing more than the descent into dictatorship and authoritarianism,” the PKR president said in a statement.

This morning, MalaysiaNow reported that legal experts in Putrajaya were studying an option for a state of emergency as sanctioned by the Federal Constitution, following repeated appeals by senior health officials during high-level meetings this week.

“At the heart of their concern is the budget next month. Any move to stop it from being passed could see the democratic process left with no choice but the dissolution of Parliament.

“The scenario can’t get any worse than that, as they warned that elections will lead to Covid-19 infections going out of control,” a source who attended one of the meetings to fight the pandemic was quoted as saying.

After chairing a special Cabinet meeting today, Muhyiddin travelled to Kuantan to seek an audience with Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah. He is expected to address the nation later tonight.

Anwar said the government had failed to show leadership in handling the Covid-19 crisis, and “is instead resorting to undemocratic means to stay in power”.

Last week, MalaysiaNow revealed that a group of MPs aligned with Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who supported Anwar in his efforts to take control of Putrajaya, could force snap polls if they did not vote to pass the budget to be tabled on Nov 6.

In the absence of a clear majority for either bloc, such a scenario would force snap polls, seen as the worst case scenario which could lead to a multifold increase in daily Covid-19 infections.

It is believed that any state of emergency to be declared would only apply to the political sphere, with all other daily routines allowed to continue.

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