Abdul Hadi: Emergency powers shouldn’t be discounted in Malaysia’s Covid-19 fight

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang speaks during a Perikatan Nasional event at Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur September 1, 2020. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang speaks during a Perikatan Nasional event at Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur September 1, 2020. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 28 — PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said today a state of emergency to handle the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic was not an exception to Malaysia, as many countries had declared one in response to the global health crisis.

A state of emergency, Hadi said, can take place for various reasons including natural disasters and pandemics such as Covid-19, apart from political, economic or violent turmoil that requires a curfew to be imposed on the general populace.

“Emergency can happen when the pillars of human life are being threatened. Islam stipulates that the pillars comprise aspects of religion, life, intellect, dignity, offspring and property.

“This means that when those are threatened, then emergency laws that transform ordinary to extraordinary circumstances must therefore be implemented.

“In the context of containing the Covid-19 outbreak, an emergency must be seen from all angles not just in the aspect of combating the disease, prevention and medical treatment, but also in the aspect of security, economy, society and families in hardship,” he said in a lengthy statement on Facebook.

On October 25, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah rejected Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s request to declare a state of emergency to fight the Covid-19 epidemic.

Muhyiddin had requested emergency rule amid a fresh spike in infections in Malaysia and a global pandemic that has battered the economy. But critics accused him of using it as a pretext to suspend Parliament and avoid a test of his razor-thin parliamentary majority.

Abdul Hadi said every major development concerning Covid-19 must be given emphasis and Malaysians must be prepared to face all possibilities before the pandemic becomes a burden to all especially the rakyat who are suffering the most.

“Major decisions made in facing any obstacles, on whether to declare an emergency or not, must be referred to those with real expertise in said matter.

“This is crucial so that the decision is made wisely and not through fragmentary sources or views in one aspect of the Constitution, politics or economy alone,” he said, adding that this was to ensure said decision does not contradict the reality.

Therefore, Abdul Hadi said the issue of Covid-19 infections should be referred to medical experts and law enforcement personnel, not politicians or constitutional experts.

“A decision made to face the pandemic is inaccurate if we only rely on politicians who are constantly obsessed with seat numbers or economists who predict stock market scenarios or just constitutional experts,” he said.

Separately, Abdul Hadi also called for more attention to be given to the capabilities of police and military personnel through the latest approach in the implementation of the conditional movement control order (CMCO) to control the people’s movement and prevent the influx of illegal migrants.

He also said the media must be controlled during times of the pandemic so that they do not publish reports and long summaries through veiled provocations, which may lead to a similar happening of what is currently taking place in Thailand.

At present, a pro-democracy movement led by student groups has gathered pace across Thailand for the last couple of months, with some activists openly calling for reforms of the kingdom’s unassailable monarchy.

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