Rulers to decide today

At attention: A military officer from the 21st Mounted Squadron guarding the entrance to the Istana Negara where the Malay Rulers will meet to discuss a possible state of emergency. — Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malay rulers will hold a special meeting at the Istana Negara here to discuss the government’s plan to declare a state of emergency to tackle the worsening Covid-19 situation.

The meeting, which is scheduled to start at 2.30pm today, will be informal and will only involve the Rulers.

It will not include the Yang di-Pertuas Negeri or any politicians.

Palace sources said while His Majesty Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has the final say on the declaration, he wanted to get the input of the Sultans first.

“In fact, it is more of a get-together than a special meeting, ” said a palace source.

It is understood that at least six Sultans have confirmed their attendance but it is almost certain that most of the Rulers will be present.

It is reliably learnt that the King would deliver the decision to the Prime Minister after the meeting.

The proposed Emergency could mean the suspension of Parliament and a stop to all political activities but not economic and other activities.

There will be no curfew nor heavy presence of the army and police in the streets.

On Friday, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and several ministers presented the King with the Emergency plan at Istana Abdul Aziz Indera Mahkota in Kuantan.

They were accompanied by the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador, Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun and Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

On Oct 16, the King had expressed his dismay over the actions of some politicians and had advised them “to reflect on their actions so that the country would not be dragged into political uncertainty”.

Selangor’s Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah also chimed in, expressing concern over the endless politicking, pointing out that the people were “bored and disgusted with politicians”.

Earlier on Friday, the Cabinet decided to adopt a proposal to proceed with the Emergency to fight the pandemic and to halt political activities, including the Batu Sapi by-election in Sabah and the impending Sarawak state election.

Analysts said the Election Commission had no power to stop the elections except with the declaration of an Emergency as health experts have expressed fear that the Covid-19 pandemic would spiral out of control if polls were to be held.

This occurred during the recent Sabah election.

Malaysia will not be the only country that will impose an emergency to combat Covid-19.

Eighty other countries have enacted it to various degrees.

They include France, Spain, Belgium, Romania, Austria, Argentina, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, the Philippines, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Portugal, Luxembourg, Georgia and Japan.

Yesterday, the Comptroller of the Royal Household of Istana Negara, Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, said His Majesty urged the people to remain calm and not speculate as the King’s main concern was the well-being of the rakyat in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

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