Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Civilian govt remains, PM assures no judicial meddling despite emergency

But Muhyiddin Yassin says tough laws could be introduced to empower various agencies including the armed forces to help in efforts to fight Covid-19.

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Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin today called for national unity while assuring that the proclamation of emergency is not a military coup and will not see a curfew enforced to prevent people from going about their daily lives.

“Let me asssure you that the civilian government will continue to function,” he said, adding that there would be no interruption to either economic activities or the judicial system.

“The judiciary will continue to be the beacon of justice in our country and I will never interfere in the businss of the courts,” said Muhyiddin.

But he warned that stern action will be taken against anyone who threatens to scuttle efforts to fight the pandemic.

He said Parliament would not convene throughout the emergency period, and no elections would be held.

“We are aware that people do not want elections to be held as they do not want Covid-19 infections to spike as seen in the aftermath of the recent Sabah election,” he said.

Muhyiddin said he was not against elections, but that it was fear over the Covid-19 pandemic which had stopped him from advising the Agong to dissolve the Parliament.

He said a general election would be held once the special committee gives the green light that it is safe.

“This is my committment which I will fulfil,” he added.

He also said state governments will operate as usual under the emergency rule.

However, he said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is empowered to activate several ordinances under the emergency laws if the need arises, including on the use of land and public assets to help in the fight against Covid-19.

He said the Agong could also empower the armed forces in addition to its current jurisdiction, so that it can assist the public health sector in fighting the pandemic.

He said tough laws could also be enacted against economic sabotage and hoarding.

“More firm actions and punishments could be introduced,” he said.

He said the proclamation of emergency fulfils the constitutional provisions under Article 150(1), as the country is faced with the double crisis of Covid-19 and floods.

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.”

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