Is an Emergency necessary?
Amid rumours of the Prime Minister advising the Yang Di Pertuan Agong to declare a state of emergency not long from now, the question arises as to whether the same is necessary at this point of time.
There can be no doubt that the YDPA has the power to declare a state of emergency on the advice of the PM if His Majesty is satisfied that the conditions which necessitate one under Article 150(1) of the Federal Constitution exists namely, if the security, economic life or public order in the country is threatened.
The third wave of Covid-19, currently plaguing the country, is without doubt, a serious problem which requires urgent attention but whether or not this, in itself, makes a state of emergency necessary is doubtful.
Covid-19 has had adverse affects in most economies across the globe and Malaysia is no exception.
At a time when the economy is in a fragile state, it is possible that a state of emergency may further erode economic life in the country, which is exactly what a state of emergency aims to curb.
No doubt, the increase in the numbers of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks must be seriously addressed.
However, the government must also be held accountable for its handling of the Covid-19 crisis and this would not be possible if Parliament is suspended in the event a state of emergency is declared.
There are other options available to address the Covid-19 menace such as more targeted movement control orders in areas most affected and increased testing which can flatten the curve in the near future.
Imposing a state of emergency now may be too drastic a step.
Dated this 23rd of October, 2020.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
CHAIRMAN NATIONAL LEGAL BUREAU
DEMOCRATIC ACTION PARTY