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Saturday, July 31, 2021

'What the emergency brought: Higher Covid-19 cases and a constitutional crisis'

 


Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang questioned if the Perikatan Nasional government, which sought for a proclamation of emergency to purportedly combat the Covid-19 pandemic, had been successful after six months with the wide-ranging power granted to it.

This is as the emergency, proclaimed on Jan 11, is set to expire tomorrow (August 1).

"Was the emergency a success in its intended objective?" he asked.

He noted that when the emergency was proclaimed, there were only 235,992 Covid-19 cases and 551 deaths.

That had since skyrocketed to 1,095,485 cumulative cases and 8,859 deaths by July 29.

Daily new Covid-19 cases have also climbed from four digits when the emergency was proclaimed to five digits while daily deaths are in the three digits compared to single digits in January.

"The seven-times increase of daily new Covid-19 cases and 15-times increase in daily new Covid-19 deaths is the strongest evidence that an emergency is not the antidote to the Covid-19 pandemic and why no country in the world proclaims an emergency to fight the Covid-19 pandemic except in the most extraordinary of circumstances," he said.

Not only had the emergency not helped, but Lim also noted that the tail end of the emergency is now being marked with a constitutional crisis.

This was after the government revoked the emergency ordinances without the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong's assent, courting royal displeasure.

"Malaysia is in unchartered waters, for this is a constitutional crisis which was not envisaged by the founding fathers of the nation who wrote the Malaysian Constitution and provided the bedrock principles of good governance based on constitutional monarchy, based on parliamentary democracy and the doctrine of the separation of powers among the executive, legislature, and the judiciary," he said.

Lim said if the Yang di-Pertuan Agong still does not give his royal assent by midnight, then the onus will be on Parliament to vote to annul the emergency ordinances.

The Agong had wanted the emergency ordinances to be debated in Parliament but the government wants the ruler to assent to revocation without going through the legislature.

There is also uncertainty over Monday's special Dewan Rakyat sitting, which will be the last day of its five-day sitting.

The government had on Thursday put Parliament on lockdown on grounds that Covid-19 cases had been discovered.

Lim maintained that Parliament should proceed on Monday.

"Will Parliament be sitting on Monday? There are no answers now, but there is no reason why the Dewan Rakyat should not meet as scheduled on Monday.

"Hitler in 1933 contributed to global parliamentary lore with the German Reichstag (Parliament) fire. Let not Muhyiddin contribute to global parliamentary lore with a Parliament lockdown allegedly because of Covid-19 pandemic," he said. - Mkini

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