Muhyiddin: Emergency Ordinances do not allow indefinite rule of PM

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin delivers a keynote address at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre March 1, 2020. — Bernama pic
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin delivers a keynote address at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre March 1, 2020. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 1 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today said none of the Emergency Ordinances — or laws made during the nationwide Emergency — will allow him to rule indefinitely as the prime minister, stressing that the Emergency is temporary with an expected August 1 end date.

Thus far, Muhyiddin said three ordinances — Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021, Emergency (Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities) Ordinance 2021 and Emergency (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 — have since been promulgated by the King.

“I am aware and I understand the meaning of democracy. Therefore, not a single ordinance is aimed at allowing the Prime Minister to remain in power forever,” he said during a special address themed ‘Setahun Malaysia Prihatin’ commemorating his first year in office here.

Muhyiddin also again stressed his commitment in upholding the Constitution and democratic principles, adding he would take the necessary steps to advise His Majesty to dissolve Parliament so a General Election could be held.

“The main focus of this government at this moment is to steer this country clear of 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 the 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,” he said.

He also said he would leave it to the people to decide whether the Perikatan Nasional government should be re-elected or otherwise.

“My hope is they will re-elect us. You are free to choose and that is what democracy is all about,” he said.

On January 12, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah consented to a state of Emergency in the country until August 1, or until the current wave of Covid-19 subsides.

The Agong had also consented to the government’s proposal to set up the Independent Special Committee to advise him accordingly if the emergency can be ended earlier. The committee comprises government and opposition Members of Parliament, and health experts.

Muhyiddin has in recent months come under fire from several quarters on both sides of the political divide for the government’s decision to suspend Parliament during the Emergency, with most saying it was because he had lost majority parliamentary support.

Despite the claims, Muhyiddin has on numerous occasions stressed that the declaration of Emergency in the country was an appropriate move taken in response to a major health crisis and not due to politics.

On February 24, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong decreed that Parliament could reconvene during the Emergency period upon the advice of the prime minister.

“Therefore, assumption that the Emergency Proclamation prevents Parliament from convening is inaccurate,” the statement from Istana Negara read.

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