Warisan wants state of emergency to end, calls on PM to negotiate political ceasefire

KOTA KINABALU: Warisan wants Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to end the Emergency and strike a deal with all parties to avoid a general election, until the end of the pandemic.

Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said parliamentary democracy should be restored and the Prime Minister should negotiate a political ceasefire.

“There are sufficient existing laws to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. If there is a need to amend the Federal Constitution to avoid the Sarawak election or any by-election during a pandemic, the Perikatan Nasional Government should negotiate with the Opposition to reach a two-thirds majority to do so.

“If there is a need to legislate measures for the Covid-19 pandemic, the government should negotiate with the Opposition instead of declaring a state of emergency, ” Shafie said in a statement Thursday (Jan 14).

“Political leaders from both sides of Parliament would have agreed on a ceasefire on not to call for a general election," he said.

He said the Federal Constitution allows for the proclamation of Emergency "but this must be exercised responsibly. It must be used for the benefit of the nation and its people".

Shafie said the local business community had already suffered as a result of restrictions due to the coronavirus.

He said many have lost their livelihoods and many businesses and hotels have been forced to close down.

"I therefore call upon the minority government to reset the button and do the right thing. We must build a nation for all, not for any individual, party, race or religion," he said.

Like other Opposition leaders, Shafie said that the state of emergency was not a suitable option to address the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the country because the movement control order was available and feasible.

“The fact that the Perikatan government proceeded to implement the MCO, CMCO and RMCO last year speaks volumes on the absence of any ‘grave’ and ‘imminent’ threat to the nation.”

He said countries that implemented restrictions on population movement similar to Malaysia’s MCO have been successful in curbing the spread of Covid-19.

Under the state of emergency, debates on policies and legislation affecting the nation or the individual states will no longer be the prerogative of Parliament until Aug 1,2021 and as such, render Parliament and state legislative assemblies redundant, Shafie said.

“The Emergency powers can also be abused to abrogate or limit the constitutional fundamental rights and liberties of individuals in this country, ” he added.

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