Malaysiakini
OPINIONS

COMMENT | Shouldn’t democracy continue during a pandemic?

Zan Azlee

Published
Modified 29 Jan 2021, 8:39 am

COMMENT | We were assured that the emergency declaration by the government would be focused solely on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. We were told that it would be easier to create ordinances to help curb the infection rate. We were told that it would help to cool down the political tension that was happening in the country so more focus could be given to battling the virus.

Okay, many Malaysians bought it. Heck, even I bought it to a certain degree. But has the emergency really been necessary? Is there anything that the emergency can really help out with when it comes to the pandemic that any other actions, like, for example, the movement control order (MCO), couldn’t do?

When the first MCO was declared back in March 2020, there were many rules and regulations that were put in place. Industries were shut down, curfew was implemented and people were not allowed to travel outside of a 10km radius from where they lived. The authorities were out enforcing these rules and fining people as well.

Everyone supported the move and complied with it all. Even the opposition in Parliament had no big objections, aside from the concern they had about the economy and people’s livelihoods. Malaysians stuck with the MCO and aside from a few irresponsible members of the public and several more politicians who flouted quarantine rules, everyone did well.

The result of it was that we managed to bring the numbers down so much that we were even in the single digits. Then what happened? The Sabah elections happened and the numbers spiked again. Was it because of the elections? Did people not follow the right SOPs of social distancing and wearing masks? Who knows. The fact of the matter is, after that, everything went downhill.

Right now, I don’t see how the emergency is contributing to anything other than freezing all politics from happening. And because of that, democracy seems to have been stalled. Parliament has been suspended and will not have any sessions until the emergency...

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