What’s the plan for cash-strapped young Malaysians in Emergency? Pakatan youths ask govt

A man watches a live telecast of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's speech in Kuala Lumpur January 12, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
A man watches a live telecast of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's speech in Kuala Lumpur January 12, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 ― The leaders of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) youth wings today urged the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to detail its immediate plans to young Malaysians facing financial woes with the country in a nationwide state of Emergency while the pandemic rages on.

The three PH youth chiefs cited government statistics showing an uptick in joblessness, noting that Malaysians in the 15-30 age bracket made up more than half of those currently unemployed in the Covid-19 crisis.

They added that those with jobs were not spared, pointing that those in small and medium enterprises (SME) had yet to received the wage subsidies promised by the government last year when the coronavirus first reared its head and the country was put in lockdown.

“In such matters, the government must present a short-term plan to channel funds, especially to the affected young people,” Shazni Munir Mohd Ithnin, Howard Lee, and Akmal Nasir from Parti Amanah Negara, DAP, and PKR respectively said in a joint statement.

“Otherwise, this Emergency proclamation is just a ruse to save Muhyidin's political position and it should be rejected in its entirety,” they added.

The trio were referring to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin who announced a return of the movement control order (MCO) for all three Federal Territories and Selangor, Johor, Penang, Melaka, Sabah on January 11. Kelantan was added to the list yesterday following a spike in Covid-19 cases.

The Emergency covering the entire country was proclaimed a day later, alongside the suspension of Parliament and all state legislative houses, which effectively grants full authority to make laws in the hands of the Muhyiddin administration, by way of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021, gazetted yesterday, also grants full legal immunity to the present government, which effectively allows the Muhyiddin administration to enact new laws and policies unchecked and unchallenged.

The PH Youth leaders had cited government statistics showing overall unemployment at 4.8 per cent while those affecting Malaysians aged 15-30 at 58.2 per cent.

They pointed out that college and university graduates made up 35.6 per cent of those unemployed while those in the labour force were mostly those with low academic qualifications.

Federal Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has petitioned the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to rescind the proclamation of Emergency that is scheduled to last until August 1, or until Covid-19 cases are manageable again.

The PKR president accused the prime minister and the government of misleading the Agong by advising the latter to proclaim Emergency when the Muhyiddin government no longer has the majority in Parliament.

Last Tuesday, Muhyiddin announced that the Agong consented to the Emergency to allow the federal government to contain the coronavirus without political distractions.

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