Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Takiyuddin Hassan has denied that the recent proclamation of emergency was politically motivated, saying it was implemented to assist efforts to manage the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
Takiyuddin, who holds the parliament and law portfolio, said managing the Covid-19 situation in the country was more important than playing political games.
“Some people claim that this emergency was done to avoid a general election (GE). Covid-19 is an important life or death issue, while the GE is only an issue of winning or losing.
“(In fact) in Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s address (recently), he made it clear that he intends to get a new mandate through the GE, but the Covid-19 situation (now) does not allow for it.
“In fact, (previously) Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah had also agreed to declare a state of emergency in the Batu Sapi parliamentary constituency, Gerik parliamentary constituency and Bugaya state constituency to curb the spread of Covid-19,” he said on the “Bicara Naratif” programme broadcast on TV1 last night.
He also said the government had decided to advise the king to declare an emergency after taking into account the welfare and well-being of the public.
On Tuesday, Sultan Abdullah consented to a nationwide proclamation of emergency as a proactive measure to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.
The emergency will be in force until Aug 1, but could end earlier if the number of daily Covid-19 cases is effectively controlled and reduced.
Yesterday, Malaysia recorded 4,029 new Covid-19 cases, the highest tally since the outbreak began last year.
Takiyuddin said Sultan Abdullah had also sought the views of the attorney-general, chief of defence forces, the inspector-general of police, the health director-general and the Election Commission chairman prior to giving his consent.
He brushed aside claims by certain parties questioning the position of the Cabinet and the respective state government leaderships, saying that based on the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021, their functions and duties remained the same.
He said Section 11 of the ordinance provided that the prime minister and Cabinet should continue to exercise federal executive powers and be empowered to make subsidiary laws, while the menteris besar or chief ministers, as well as the respective state executive councils, could continue with their executive powers and make laws at the state level.
On the formation of an independent committee during the emergency period, Takiyuddin said the government had identified several qualified figures to be a part of it if consented to by Sultan Abdullah.
He said those considered include former chief justices, inspectors-general of police, social activists and several health experts who could provide useful input and advice to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
“The first thing touched on in the emergency ordinance is the establishment of this independent committee which is transparent. Even at the government level, we are ready and have a list of names to present to His Majesty.
“I have also written a letter to the opposition leader in Parliament, asking for a list of three names to be part of the committee, but as of now, I have not received it,” he said.