World news – Malaysia declares the emergency to contain the virus and supports the government

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Reuters

Published: January 12, 2021 6:10 PM BdST

Updated: January 12, 2021, 6:10 p.m. BdST

During the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on January 12, 2021, people stand in line to pay at a supermarket. Reuters

In a televised address on Tuesday, Muhyiddin said parliament would be suspended for a set period and no elections would be held in the Southeast Asian nation during the emergency, which could last until August 1.

« Me assure you the civil government will continue to work. The emergency announced by the king is not a military coup and the curfew will not be enforced, « said Muhyiddin to dispel the alarm about the measures.

Muhyiddin also promised that elections would be held as soon as it is certain.

The move should, at least for the time being, reduce the political uncertainty that has reigned over Muhyiddin since his unelected alliance came to power with a wafer-thin majority in March after the previous coalition led by Malaysia Veteran leader Mahathir Mohamad had collapsed.

Some lawmakers in the ruling coalition have support for the Prime Minister President Anwar Ibrahim said last year that he had a majority to form a new government. In a statement, Anwar’s coalition Pakatan Harapan Muhyiddin accused the pandemic of using the pandemic to kill one Avoiding the collapse of his government and questioning the need for an emergency. The existing laws were sufficient to combat the spread of the virus.

« We also see the move to suspend the legislation of parliament and state … as an impact on control and balance, inhibiting the nation’s democracy and the Rejecting people’s votes, « they said.

The urgency allowing the Muhyiddin government to legislate without parliamentary approval comes a day after the prime minister imposed a nationwide travel ban and a 14-day lockdown in the capital Kuala Lumpur and in five states has announced.

The health system of the country with 32 million inhabitants has reached a breaking point, said the Prime Minister. The number of new infections every day reached a record high with 3,309 cases on Tuesday. The total number of coronavirus cases was 141,000 with 559 deaths.

In an emergency, powers can be delegated to the military to perform public health-related tasks. The police could be given additional powers.

Malaysia’s reference index even fell by 1.6% and the ringgit currency even lost 0.5% after the emergency call.

The Malaysian economy was affected by the measures taken to contain the epidemic hit last year, and recorded its first economic decline in over a decade in Q2 2020.

Economists warned of the emergency and new lockdown measures will make it more difficult for the expected economic recovery, the government’s 2021 growth target of Jan. , To reach 5 to 7.5%.

Malaysia’s palace said King Al-Sultan Abdullah had agreed to Muhyiddin’s request to declare an emergency due to the « critical phase » of the pandemic.

The emergency will be extended by Last August 1 or earlier, depending on whether coronavirus infections were brought under control, the palace said.

The king had rejected a similar request from Muhyiddin in October. Opposition leaders at the time criticized the demand as an attempt to hold onto power.

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy in which the king plays a largely ceremonial role and performs his duties with advice from the prime minister and cabinet. The monarch also has the power to decide whether to declare an emergency based on threats to security, economy or public order.

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