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Friday, October 30, 2020

Emergency: Rais advises govt to try again, but an Umno leader warns against it

 


Senate president Rais Yatim has advised Putrajaya to make a second attempt at securing an emergency declaration.

However, an Umno leader has warned that his party would not accept such a move as it would disobey the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on his decision.

Previously, the King had rejected the government's attempt to secure a declaration of emergency.

Rais, in a report published by Utusan Malaysia yesterday, said that it would be wise if the government sought another audience to advise the monarch.

"With the Covid-19 pandemic getting worse, as well as the people's difficult economic situation, it would be most wise if the authorities had an audience and explained to His Majesty again to accept any additional facts from the authorities.

"The people must respect His Majesty's earlier decision(to reject an emergency). However, Article 40 must be followed, even though on condition.

"Hopefully the government's moves in the context of emergency administration is not misunderstood," he told the Malay daily.

Article 40 of the Federal Constitution states that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong must act on the advice of the cabinet unless otherwise provided for by the Constitution.

Rais said this was clear and did not require "nonsense interpretations".

However, critics have said that Article 40 must be read together with Article 150(1), which states that the King must be satisfied that there is a need to call for an emergency.

Umno leader: Rais' actions disregard people's interest

Reacting to Rais, an Umno supreme council member, who did not wish to be named, said any effort to seek another emergency declaration would not sit well with the party.

"Rais' actions asking the government to suggest another emergency disregard the interest of the people.

"The supreme council is firm in rejecting any action that would affect the people's safety, and (the party) will obey the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's decision," the leader said, citing the statement issued by Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi last night.

Zahid said in the statement: "Umno would not hesitate to take stern action to safeguard the Malay Rulers' sovereignty and the people's interests."

Asked what actions could be taken, the source replied: "There are many options if the government does not uphold the King's decree."

Umno currently has a rocky relationship with the Perikatan Nasional government and has twice mulled pulling out its support for the coalition.

The government had sought an emergency declaration last week, ostensibly to handle the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, critics have said this was to avoid the PN government collapsing in Parliament next month - which could lead to a snap general election.

The prime minister losing support could also lead to a snap general election if no other leader can prove to have the numbers in Parliament to form the government.

BN secretary-general Annuar Musa has said that an emergency was necessary to avoid a snap election amid the Covid-19 pandemic. - Mkini

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