The Academy of Professors Malaysia (APM) wishes to express its utmost gratitude to His Majesty Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah for his judicious ruling not to declare a state of emergency in the country.
Verily, the Covid-19 pandemic has taken us to a situation of unprecedented health and economic challenges. At the same time, the political quandary in the country has further contributed to the predicament.
We believe that in dealing with both the pandemic and political “Catch-22” situation, the larger interest of the nation should be given utmost priority.
The gist of any “would-be approach” should be in identifying win-win situations for all interest groups – the general public, the economy, democracy, institutions and political harmony, until Covid-19 is effectively contained.
The ultimate interest is the rakyat. The string of movement control orders (MCO) and economic stimulus packages adopted since March this year have in fact already been our “emergency” measures to achieve a balance between the livelihood and health wellbeing of the rakyat.
Our second quarter’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) this year took an unprecedented plunge of 17% on a year-on-year basis. Our simulation suggests that for every two weeks of full MCO implementation, and in the absence of adequate social security protection and economic stimulus, our GDP may suffer a fall of 1.5 percentage points, relative to the baseline.
Thus it is very likely that an Emergency may result in far worse economic and social ramifications.
A flourishing democracy entails a functioning parliament and political stability which helps sustain business and investor confidence. Parliament should meet as scheduled and the Budget would need to be tabled. We trust there are ways for cross-party negotiation to reach a healthy consensus over Budget 2021.
Furthermore, the rakyat has anticipated that this year’s Budget 2021 will be an extraordinary one, given the extraordinary times we are living in. The rakyat naturally expects our political players to demonstrate wisdom and statesmanship to move the country forward at this very critical juncture of the dual crises, without giving rise to any political deadlock or disharmony.
We think there is no time like the present for our politicians to contribute better by putting national interest above partisan politics.
His Majesty Yang di-Pertuan Agong has indeed made the right and momentous decision.
PROF DATUK SRI DR DAENG NASIR DAENG IBRAHIM
Academy of Professors Malaysia
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