Wednesday, January 13, 2021

‘Cunning arguments’ against emergency no surprise, says Sarawak MP

He says strong authority is needed if Malaysia is to win the increasingly difficult war against Covid-19.

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A Sarawak MP says the declaration of emergency has been the most effective tool to date to disrupt politicians scheming for power at a time when strong authority is needed to stop the multiple crises caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Saratok MP Ali Biju said as such, it was no surprise to see critics attacking Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin over the move to declare an emergency.

“This sudden invocation of Article 150 of the constitution has thrown a spanner in the works of some quarters bent on politicking when the rest of the world is focusing on battling an invisible enemy that threatens millions of lives. And they are fuming,” he said in a statement.

Ali also predicted “many objections and clever arguments” against the PM’s move in the coming days.

Saratok MP Ali Biju.

“I can’t help but draw a parallel with how some Republicans in the US are doing exactly the same thing; self over nation in the name of false patriotism,” he added.

He said Muhyiddin had proven to be credible and diligent in leading the government’s fight against the pandemic, adding that his actions are guided by medical experts.

“His track record in tackling the pandemic is impeccable and cannot be faulted, and even his harshest critic would have to acquiesce,” Ali said.

The state of emergency announced yesterday came amid a spike in Covid-19 cases which has seen daily numbers entrenched in the four-figure range.

The move came just as the movement control order was reinstated, bringing stricter control over public mobility to curb the virus spread.

Muhyiddin had 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.

But Pakatan Harapan leaders accused Muhyiddin of seeking wider powers through the emergency move.

Ali said many quarters have made clear their objection to snap polls during the pandemic.

Calls for a general election have been gaining ground among a section of politicians aligned with Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and his predecessor Najib Razak, who are campaigning for the Malay party to revoke support for the ruling bloc.

The state of emergency will however put a stop to such a likelihood.

“Do Malaysians really want political instability that would lead to a general election when we are in the throes of a massive wave of new infections instead of firm leadership?” Ali asked.

“The PM did the right and logical thing yesterday and no amount of artful propaganda or cunning and foxy arguments can detract from this self-evident fact: Malaysia needs strong leadership that is stabilising and firm in order to recover and heal before we can safely return to the rakyat for a fresh mandate.”

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