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Malaysia declares state of emergency

Malaysia declares state of emergency

Malaysia's king approved a coronavirus emergency declaration, delaying the country's general election and giving an extended reprieve to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

The government has given its assurance that the judiciary will continue to function to uphold the law and justice throughout the emergency period. The king, who can declare a state of emergency that allows the country to be governed through ordinances that cannot be challenged in court, had in October rejected Muhyiddin's request to declare an emergency. It suspends Malaysia's parliament and political activity and grants the state new powers.

Some lawmakers in the ruling coalition have pulled support for the premier and have called for early elections, while opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said previous year that he had a majority to form a new government.

The council insisted that calling an Emergency would have sufficed for a specific parliamentary constituency or state assembly seat as was done before, alluding to the Grik and Batu Sapi by-elections which were postponed due to Covid-19.

Muhyiddin, in announcing the lockdown Monday, warned that the country's healthcare system was at "breaking point". Malaysia kept the virus in check for much of previous year with a tough lockdown but, once curbs were eased, cases accelerated and have repeatedly hit fresh records in recent days. Total coronavirus cases passed 141,000 with 559 deaths.

In a televised speech, Muhyiddin assured citizens that the emergency was "not a military coup and a curfew will not be enforced".

King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said at the time that existing laws were sufficient to halt the virus spread. No elections can be held during the emergency either, which could last until August 1.

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy in which the king has a largely ceremonial role, carrying out his duties with advice from the prime minister and cabinet.

Al-Sultan Abdullah also advised the people to remain calm, resilient and resilient in the face of the implementation of this emergency and the Movement Control Order (MCO) for security and common interests.