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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 24 — After heightened criticisms over Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s rumoured move to invoke ‘emergency’ powers, Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa questioned detractors, asking them to give a solution that would avoid the need for an election.
Taking to Twitter, Annuar said: “Pls advise which law to use when Bt Sapi voters want govt to postpone by-election. Which law to use when Sarawakian want their PRN to be postponed for fear of what happened to Sabah, and which law to use when 87 per cent of voters indicated they don’t want GE for fear of Covid-19 outbreak.”
Speculation has been rife that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government is seeking to declare a state of emergency as Malaysia struggles to contain the spike in Covid-19 infection that has also hurt the economy.
Reports have so far suggested that Putrajaya is seeking a dubious so-called state of “partial emergency”, also dubbed as “economic, health, or political emergency”.
It is unclear what the emergency powers being sought are at the moment as the breadth and scope under a state of emergency are far-ranging.
This comes as the country recorded a new high of Covid-19 deaths at 10 fatalities two days ago, bringing the total to 214.
Malaysia also recorded 710 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, bringing total positive cases to 24,514.
Yesterday, Muhyiddin and several other government leaders attended an audience with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah at the latter’s Istana Abdulaziz in Kuantan.
However, no announcement was made following the audience.
Several lawyers polled by Malay Mail have also cast their doubts over the feasibility of the rumoured so-called “partial emergency”.
Pointing to the Federal Constitution, constitutional experts said the country’s supreme document only provides for one type of emergency that would either cover the whole country or any state in its Article 150.
Article 150 in the Constitution handles the proclamation of emergency. Article 150(1) states that “if the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby the security, or the economic life, or public order in the Federation or any part thereof is threatened”, he may issue a proclamation of emergency.
The said proclamation must only be done with the advice of the Cabinet or the prime minister.
However, the lawyers also said that the details of such an emergency would be up to the government.
With an emergency proclaimed, the executive branch will have almost absolute authority over the running of the country in a crisis, without check and balance from the other two branches: the legislative and judiciary.