Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin today reiterated his assurance that an election will be held once the Covid-19 health crisis is over, saying the state of emergency declared in mid-January is solely to contain the spread of Covid-19.
In a speech in conjunction with Perikatan Nasional’s first year in government, he said the focus of his administration at the moment is to safely navigate the country through the “double whammy” of health and economic crises.
“Once the pandemic is over, which I hope will be very soon, I will advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to dissolve Parliament.
“Until such time, my colleagues in the Cabinet and I will continue to carry out our duties and responsibilities to the best of our ability.”
The state of emergency, which is expected to continue until August, was implemented under Clause (1) of Article 150 of the Federal Constitution.
Muhyiddin said then that the civilian government would continue to function with 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 business of the courts,” he said.
In his address today, he said he understands the meaning of democracy.
Listing out the provisions that have been implemented under the emergency so far, he said none of them is aimed at enabling the prime minister to remain in power forever.
He said the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021, the Emergency Ordinance (Minimum Standards for Housing, Accommodation and Facilities of Employees) (Amendment 2021) and the Emergency (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 are to help the government deal more efficiently with the pandemic, including the management of foreign workers’ accomodation which is one of the main causes of Covid-19 infection in the country.
“Under the proclamation of emergency, all of these ordinances were proclaimed in a short period of time without having to go through the parliamentary process which usually takes a long time,” he added.
“Also, the state of emergency has a date of expiry on Aug 1. This is the first time in the country’s history that a state of emergency has an expiration period.”
Adding that the Agong had formed a special independent committee to monitor the emergency, he said if the committee is satisfied that the Covid-19 situation is under control, it could recommend that it be ended ahead of time.
“When the election is held, of course, we will leave it to the people to decide whether the Perikatan Nasional government should be re-elected or otherwise,” he said.
“You are free to choose and that is what democracy is all about.”