Muda calls for end to Emergency as latest Ordinance gives govt free hand to dip into nation’s coffers

In a statement today, Muda’s pro tem vice-president and lawyer Lim Wei Jiet cried foul over the move and labelled it as an assault to the role of the Parliament, and democracy. — Picture by Choo Choy May
In a statement today, Muda’s pro tem vice-president and lawyer Lim Wei Jiet cried foul over the move and labelled it as an assault to the role of the Parliament, and democracy. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — The Malaysia United Democratic Alliance (Muda) today called for an end to the current state of Emergency, after the government’s latest amendment to the Emergency Ordinance giving it free access to the nation’s coffers.

In a statement today, Muda’s pro tem vice-president and lawyer Lim Wei Jiet cried foul over the move and labelled it as an assault to the role of the Parliament, and democracy.

“This is yet another decision of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government that is undemocratic and an insult to the role of the Parliament as one of the main branches of the nation’s governance.

“The Parliament plays an important role to check and balance any decisions of the Executive, with regards to the country’s finances,” Lim said.

The new law gazetted today will temporarily allow the Finance Ministry to approve additional spending of the federal government’s funds beyond the initial Budget without going through the usual route of seeking Parliament’s approval, during the nationwide Emergency in Malaysia.

Malaysia has been put under a state of Emergency from January 11 until the expected end date of August 1 unless lifted earlier.

During this period, Parliament and state legislative assemblies — which typically play the role of checks and balance on the executive branch of the government — have been suspended until further notice.

“This development shows how paralysed and serious the state of democracy is today, which would directly contribute to policies with do not favour the people. Muda suggests that the Emergency be ended to again revive democracy, the check and balance system and good governance in Malaysia,” Lim said.

He pointed to the period when the government was forced to reduce the mammoth RM85.5 million allocation to the government’s propaganda arm; which has since been renamed from Jasa to J-Kom, under Budget 2021, as a stellar check-and-balance example.

“However now, the Executive has full power to decide how the country’s finances should be allocated. The Executive does not have to answer to MPs from the Opposition or their backbenchers,” Lim lamented.

According to the new law, mentri besar and chief ministers of states in Malaysia will similarly be able to approve additional spending in state government funds beyond the initial budget without having to get approval of state legislative assemblies.

This new law, which was promulgated by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on March 25, takes effect from today.

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