LETTER | We, the undersigned members of the CSO Platform for Reform, are concerned with the news of a possible declaration of a state of emergency by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Oct 23.
The timing and political context of the announcement cannot come at a worse time. Just this week, Malaysia has recorded the highest number of reported cases in a day, the largest number of Covid-19 hospitalisation and the highest number of deaths reported in a day. At the same time, people of Sabah and Selangor are still struggling with the constant fear of the pandemic alongside the uncertain and constantly changing requirements for work and economic activities.
Malaysians are not deluded by the suggestion that a state of emergency is required to combat Covid-19 pandemic. The movement control order, despite its difficulty and challenge for the country, has proven to the world that Malaysia is able to fight off Covid-19 with the existing legal and enforcement mechanisms.
The only failure in Malaysia’s struggle against Covid-19 is the legal immunity enjoyed by politicians when they flout restrictions imposed to curb the transmission of Covid-19.
With clear evidence that a state of emergency is not necessary for combatting Covid-19, only one rational explanation remains in the minds of most Malaysians. The move by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government will be interpreted and seen as political manoeuvring to secure control over the country for the survival of the administration and its leadership.
A state of emergency now would allow the prime minister and his administration an avenue to thwart the challenge posed against its leadership in the Parliament and avoid the Parliament’s scrutiny and debate with regards to the merits of the national budget that would be tabled in the upcoming Parliament session.
When the prime minister survived the vote to replace the speaker in the Parliament by 111 to 109, it, at the very least, gave a degree of legitimacy to the administration. If the administration was to declare a state of emergency in a bid to evade the vote of no confidence in Parliament, the notion that PN is an illegitimate government will be entrenched and derail any and all effort for a possible political compromise between all parties.
Furthermore, a budget passed by the current administration without the scrutiny and insight of parliamentarians and by extension the public will unlikely be one that is able to best serve the economic needs of the nation. A prolific and robust debate in Parliament based on the interest of the nation is the only way to ensure that the proposed budget is one that can address the economic needs of the country and ensure that Malaysia would come out of the global pandemic stronger.
The declaration of emergency will serve as another act of betrayal by Muhyiddin and his political allies against Malaysians. Only this time, it would not only have betrayed the trust of the people in the 14th general election, but it would also betray the sacrifice of the front liners who risked personal safety in order to protect the interest and wellbeing of the nation.
Malaysians from all walks of life have sacrificed to carry Malaysia where she is today. Frontliners have sacrificed to keep Covid-19 at bay. PN cannot be allowed to willfully undermine all that we have sacrificed for. A democratic Malaysia governed by the rule of law is what we fought for and must be what remains regardless of the political disagreement Malaysians may have with one another.
This statement is endorsed by:
2. Pusat Komas
3. Beyond Borders Malaysia
4. Childline Foundation
5. Save Rivers
6. Sabah Human Rights Centre
7. Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (Joas)
8. Jaringan Tanah Hak Adat Bangsa Asal Sarawak (Tahabas)
9. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS)
10. Persatuan Kebajikan Biji Sawi (Mustard Seed Soup Kitchen)
11. Community Action Network (CAN)
12. Cahaya Society
13. Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia (JKOASM)
14. KRYSS Network
15. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
16. Yayasan Chow Kit
17. Bersih 2.0
19. Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim)
20. Society for Equality, Respect and Trust for All (Serata)
21. All Women’s Action Society (Awam)
22. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
23. Freedom Film Network (FFN)
24. Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (Gerak)
25. KLSCAH Youth
26. Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor & KL
27. Society of Indigenous Peoples of Sarawak (SCRIPS)
28. MTUC Sarawak & Sarawak Bank Employee’s Union
29. Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (Proham)
30. Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
31. Advocates for Non-Discrimination and Access to Knowledge (Anak)
32. Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia
35. Pacos Trust
36. Women's Aid Organisation (WAO)
37. Association of Women Lawyers
38. Sisters in Islam
39. Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS)
40. Sabah Women’s Action-Resource Group (Sawo)
41. Kuen Cheng Alumni Association
42. The Selangor & Federal Territory Hainan Association
43. Sabah Reform Initiative (Sari)
44. Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM)
45. Gerakan Pembebasan Akademik-IPT
46. Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)
47. LLG Cultural Development Centre (LLG)
48. Dong Zong
49. Tindak Malaysia
50. North South Initiative (NSI)
51. Persatuan Pemangkin Daya Masyarakat (ROSE)
52. Malaysia Muda
53. Save Malaysia Stop Lynas
54. Pertubuhan Solidariti Hijau Kuantan
55. Persatuan Penduduk Galing Kuantan
58. Justice for Sisters
60. University of Malaya Association of New Youth
61. Voice of Youtharian
62. Five Arts Centre
66. Malaysia Youths and Students Evolution (Johor Branch)
67. Malaysia Youths and Students Evolution (Melaka HQ)
68. Student Progressive Front UUM
69. Student Unity Front UKM
70. UTM MJIIT-VOICES
71. New Student Movement Alliance
72. Our Journey
73. Persatuan Pemangkin Kesedaran Sosial
74. Persatuan Kesedaran dan Keadilan Iklim Malaysia (Klima Action Malaysia-KAMY)
75. The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism C4
76. Jaffna Junction
77. Demokrat UM
78. Angkatan Mahasiswa UM
79. Kesatuan Mahasiswa Universiti Malaya
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.