Emergency declared in Malaysia – What does it mean?

Malaysia declared a state of emergency this morning to stem the spike of Covid-19 cases nationwide. The emergency will remain until Aug 1, 2021.

The announcement comes barely 24 hours after Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the Movement Control Order (MCO) will be enforced in five states and the three federal territories starting tomorrow.

What does all this mean to Malaysians?

No army tanks on the road

Muhyiddin, during his 11am televised address, said: “Let me assure you that the civil service will continue to work. It is not a military coup and curfew will not be enforced.”

Keep calm, business (almost) as usual

Muhyiddin added: “Economic activities will continue as usual, according to SOPs, to ensure people can continue to work.”

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry has been tasked to come out with a detailed list of activities where people continue to work as usual in MCO areas.

He also told investors that “Malaysia is open for business” and that the government remains committed to good governance.

No GE, Parliament suspended

Some have called this declaration an extension of Muhyiddin’s stay in Putrajaya for another eight months. Others insist the emergency is needed in view of certain quarters pushing for a general election despite the pandemic.

Muhyiddin said: “The main reason why there is no general election is the Covid-19 pandemic. It is my duty, as the leader of the government, to look after the well-being of the people.

Muhyiddin said an independent committee will be set up to advise the King and the government if the emergency should be cut short or extended. The committee will also decide when it is safe to call for a general election.

“The people can then decide who they want to govern the country,” said Muhyiddin.

Parliament and state assemblies will also be suspended during this time. There will also be no by-elections and state elections.

Muhyiddin also said the judiciary will continue to be the beacon of justice and that he would never “interfere in the business of the court. (hint, hint Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi).

Will politicians be on ‘AL’ (annual leave) during this period?

Muhyiddin urged politicians to set aside their differences. He also warned that stern action will be taken against those who disrupt the government and economic activities during this period.