15 Jan WITHDRAW THE EMERGENCY PROCLAMATION IMMEDIATELY
MARIA CHIN ABDULLAH
AHLI PARLIMEN PETALING JAYA
15 January 2021
Withdraw the Emergency Proclamation Immediately
As Member of Parliament of Petaling Jaya, I categorically rejects the Emergency as advised by the Prime Minister (PM), Muhyiddin bin Haji Muhammad Yassin to the Yang diPertuan Agong. By doing so, there are grave ramifications on the country as we are still at the stage of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
What was more shocking was that the parliament as well as the state assemblies were refrained from functioning and elections were disallowed till 1 August 2021 or at whatever convenient time as the PM so decide.
Under the Federal Constitution Article 150, Clause (2a), it states that:
“If a Proclamation of Emergency is issued when Parliament is not sitting, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall summon Parliament as soon as may be practicable, and may, until both Houses of Parliament are sitting, promulgate ordinances having the force of law. If satisfied that immediate action is required.”
Following on, Article 150 (3) states that:
“A Proclamation of Emergency and any ordinance promulgated under Clause (2a) shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament and, if not sooner revoked, shall cease to have effect if resolutions are passed by, both Houses annulling such Proclamation or ordinance, but without prejudice to anything previously done by virtue thereof or to the power of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to issue a new Proclamation under Clause (1) or promulgate any ordinance under Caluse (2)”
It, therefore, follows that Parliament and even state assemblies can convene and this has to be carried out as soon as possible to discuss the Emergency Proclamation as it is a national decision that cannot be taken arbitrarily by the executive alone. The Prime Minister cannot suspend the parliament as this effort is untenable.
Precedence have been set before. From 1971 to 2012, Malaysia had four (4) emergency proclamation through legal force. However, Parliament still sat and functioned throughout these whole proclamation periods. The only time that the Parliament was ever suspended was from 1969 – 1971 because the National Operations Council, a quasi-military body was set up to run the country.
If the Prime Minister does not convene the Parliament, it will only validates that the only reason to call for an emergency proclamation is political in nature and that is: to secure the tenure and powers of the PM and his cabinet since they have become a minority government. It also means that they escape the possibility of a vote of no confidence as we witness more and more government-friendly members of parliament severing support from the PN government.
Earlier on, Malaysians were assured that the vaccine will be purchased and rolled out by March or April 2021. Other countries have had their people vaccinated and are now able to focus on their economic challenges. So if the vaccination is, as claimed by the government of Malaysia, going to be rolled out by February or March, then would the Find-Test-Trace-Isolate (FTTI) rapid response, as suggested by medical professionals, be better to combat the Covid-19 clusters and mitigate the sporadic spread of the coronavirus? Besides, between March till June 2020, the Ministry of Health was able to flatten the curve through vigorous FTTI when cases shot to more than 1000 cases, so why not now? Or has the government and the Ministry of Health lost control over the pandemic and that they have no alternative strategy other than using MCO or CMCO or emergency as ways to flatten the curve?
Our people are shouldering the economic crisis in every corner of the country. They have lost their jobs, taken pay cuts, job cuts, placed on indefinite annual leave, and face loss of livelihoods. Increasingly, the B40s and M40s do not have much financial resources to fall back on as they either do not have any social security or insufficient resources to support the present long-drawn economic crisis. Yet, resources that the government claimed to have been distributed have either not reached those who are in need or made any impactful change in their livelihoods. To impose another round of MCO and then an emergency proclamation does not give any confidence to these vulnerable groups nor help them to overcome their need to put food on the table.
For the sake of saving our county, it makes rationale sense to convene Parliament and State Assemblies to allow for in-depth discussions on how to deal with our ailing economy, the pandemic and the social security for our citizens.
I strongly urge the government to:
- Withdraw the Proclamation of Emergency with immediate effect; and
- Convene the Parliament immediately to allow for a democratic intervention that will strengthen resilience of our country through greater sustainable livelihoods, and inclusive economic growth.