The top leaders of opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) have rejected the reasons given by the government for declaring a state of emergency, saying there are existing laws to help authorities battle the surge of Covid-19 infections.
They said the movement control order (MCO) which takes effect tomorrow would be adequate, adding that no emergency laws are needed for the government to galvanise assistance to fight the pandemic.
In a joint statement, the leaders of DAP, PKR and Amanah also accused Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin of resorting to an emergency due to waning support for his ruling bloc, and cited the move by two Umno MPs to revoke their support for Perikatan Nasional.
“Muhyiddin’s action in proposing an emergency at a time when he has lost support from the majority of MPs including Machang and Padang Rengas shows that the move is totally unacceptable,” said the statement signed by DAP’s Lim Guan Eng, PKR’s Anwar Ibrahim and Amanah’s Mohamad Sabu.
“Do not hide behind Covid-19 and burden the people with an emergency declaration to save yourself.”
Muhyiddin today said that the state of emergency which was agreed to by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah would not lead to military rule, adding that civilian institutions including the judiciary would operate as usual.
He said Parliament would not convene during the emergency, and all elections would be put on hold.
The prime minister also assured that the general election will be called as soon as the special bipartisan emergency committee is satisfied that the Covid-19 situation is under control, to allow the people to choose a government of their choice.
The three PH leaders however said a local emergency covering a certain constituency would be enough to prevent elections during the pandemic.
They also said the Sarawak polls would only be due in August, while the 15th general election is only to be held in 2023.
They said the suspension of Parliament and state assembly sittings would undermine democracy and remove the process of check and balance.
“The emergency means giving absolute powers to the prime minister to arbitrarily do almost anything,” they added.