Opposition MPs question need for Emergency

All set for MCO: ­­ A restaurant worker putting up a notice to inform customers about the new directive beginning today. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Several Opposition MPs have questioned the need for the Emergency proclamation, as businesses are just beginning to recover from the Covid-19 fallout that saw sluggish economic activities since the implementation of the movement control order in March last year.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government has adequate powers to curb the transmission without having to declare an emergency.

Generally, Malaysians are obedient towards government orders unlike in Europe or the United States where their citizens would protest any sort of restrictions, he added.

“Even without an Emergency, the government has enough powers to manage the Covid-19 situation.

“When you tell Malaysians to go into lockdown, they will follow. Tell them not to move, they won’t move. Tell them to stay at home, they will stay at home.

“Maybe two or three people will protest but action can be taken.

“So what is it that the government cannot do without declaring an emergency?” he told reporters after the launching of a new e-commerce platform Herbee yesterday.

It was reported that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had said that no general, state or by-elections would be held during the duration of the emergency.

He also said the Parliament and state assemblies would not meet during the period.

When asked for his views, Dr Mahathir said holding an election during the pandemic would put the people at risk.

“Based on our experience in Sabah, if an election is held, the transmission of Covid-19 will increase. In fact, it has not stopped until today.

“If we hold another election, 50% of us would be infected. Some will die. An election will only gamble the lives of people, ” he said.

When asked if he intends to contest in the next general election, the elder statesman said: “I am already 95 years old. I cannot walk like before. Surely you are not asking me to contest again, ” he quipped.

Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the government must have plans to protect the people’s economic welfare during the MCO and Emergency period.

These are such as providing cash aid and loan moratoriums to the people, he added.

“There is no excuse to leave Malaysians without any economic protection by the government.”

In declaring opposition towards the Emergency, Syed Saddiq also said the government must include the Opposition in administering the country.

“I also hope that the people’s concerns can be quickly addressed by the government, ” he added.

Klang MP Charles Santiago cited EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Sven Schneider, who was quoted as saying that there are many concerns about Malaysia as a viable investment destination.

“The international business chamber chief had earlier warned that a total lockdown would cause the country’s economy to collapse.

“It’s therefore ironic that Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is using the Emergency to justify regenerating the economy, ” he said.

Santiago warned that there will be an increase of job and business losses.

Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh also expressed similar remarks, as she questioned the need for an Emergency as several Opposition MPs already pledged to tackle Covid-19 with the government on Jan 5.

“My heart breaks for every business owner who has been struggling since 2020 and enter into 2021 at the onset of an Emergency with eight months of being robbed, ” Yeoh added.

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