Declare emergency for certain states, not the whole country, says Sarawak politician


Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

KUCHING: Any state of emergency to address the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia should only be imposed on targeted states, not the whole country, says a Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leader.

PBB vice-president Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said he did not think an emergency should be imposed in Sarawak, which has been reporting very few cases.

He also questioned whether the Covid-19 outbreak was a sufficient reason for an emergency to be declared.

"In my opinion, an emergency can only be imposed in certain circumstances, such as a breakdown in the system, war or a big disaster like an earthquake.

"In the event that an emergency is declared, it can be imposed in just one state in Peninsular Malaysia or Sabah.

"I do hope that in the event an emergency is imposed because of Covid-19, it does not reach Sarawak, where the rate of positive cases is just one or two every day," he told reporters after attending the signing ceremony of a memorandum of agreement between SEDC Energy, Sumitomo Corporation and Eneos Japan here on Friday (Oct 23).

Karim, who is state Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister, said this following reports that an emergency could be declared to address the spike in Covid-19 cases.

GPS, the ruling state-based coalition in Sarawak, is aligned to the Perikatan Nasional federal administration.

Karim said he was unsure if the current Covid-19 situation warranted an emergency.

"But it's up to the Federal Government. They have to come up with a good reason," he said.

Asked if the emergency was to tackle the political situation in the country, Karim said this was not the way to address politics.

"It should not be done to stop the Opposition. We should have an open outlook.

"If it is because of fear of a no-confidence vote, I don't think that should be one of the grounds for an emergency to be imposed," he said.

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