KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — De facto Law Minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan responded today to the Malaysian Bar’s criticism by urging its members to act in accordance with the law, seemingly asking that they concur the proclamation of Emergency to be legal.
The Malaysian Bar has been critical of the move, and recently initiated legal proceedings against the Malaysian government and seeking five court declarations against provisions within the Emergency (Essential Powers) 2021 Ordinance (EO) they allege were either excessive or unconstitutional.
Takiyuddin suggested critics were distorting the law to suit their leanings, and as a way to raise their popularity.
“As a law minister I am calling on the Malaysian Bar as well as all legal practitioners to act in accordance with the law,” he said in a statement.
“This includes explaining and clarifying the law to the masses,” he added.
“The government is upset that at a time when all government machinery and finances are focused on battling Covid-19, there are some quarters who try to interpret the law to their whims and fancy, as if trying to raise popularity among the people.”
Critics argue the Emergency rule is unlawful because the Perikatan Nasional government neglected key procedures, including bypassing the legal requirement to table a motion to declare Emergency in Parliament.
Bar president AG Kalidas said the issuance of these Emergency Ordinances has created an imbalance between the levels of power and accountability they are subjected to, risking giving the Executive unfettered powers.
Takiyuddin did not directly address the criticism but said the Emergency declaration was done according to the law, and aimed only at helping efforts to rein in the Covid-19 crisis.
PN leaders have insisted that Emergency rule does not curb civil liberties.
“The government is hoping that the steps that are taken, which is solely focused on the health, economy and social aspects, can be accepted fully by all layers of society,” he said.
Takiyuddin asserted that the Emergency was declared for the greater good.
He then reminded that the Emergency will expire by August 1, likely a response to claims that Emergency rule would prolong indefinitely.