A new law was gazetted on March 30 to allow the Finance Ministry, mentris besar or chief ministers to approve any supplementary expenditure or withdrawal from the Consolidated Fund without having to go through the Dewan Rakyat or the state legislative assembly during this state of emergency imposed nationwide.
The law, called the Emergency (Essential Powers) (Amendment) Ordinance which came into effect immediately yesterday denotes another proof of the Perikatan Nasional-led government’s commitment and seriousness in addressing the urgency for disbursement of aids and other form of assistance to the people during this tough, challenging time of the post-Covid-19 pandemic recovery period.
In other words, it could be perceived as a form of government’s assurance or guarantee for the preservation of public security and order and economic life, in particular, to the vulnerable group, the disabled and those who lost their income due to the pandemic. Without suspension of additional spending for the rakyat and the usual scrutiny required, this means there won’t be delays or waiting in getting additional assistance from the Federal and state governments.
Hopefully, the reality of such goodness could ensure expediency of all recovery measures put in place by the present government despite endless lambasting and condemnations it is getting from all corners.
The powers to make laws and approve all expenditures necessary to ensure public security without a parliamentary vote could also mean that we will be able to fight this pandemic battle together to protect our health as well as our loved ones.
This law and others that have been gazetted during this period of Emergency easily brush aside claims that lawmaking during this period of emergency were too broad, leaving a lot of room for the PN government to clamp down on anything from politics to personal and media freedom.
Another ordinance, the Anti-Fake News Act, also drew heavy criticism where the government had been accused of restricting freedom of expression. These critics should accept the fact that fake news could be detrimental in government’s efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.
We have been hit by several waves of infections. This new law, therefore, is just right, timely and realistic to ensure the success of all measures, including the ongoing national immunisation programme, which have been put in place to stem the virus. There have been all kinds of fake, fabricated news, spiraling against the government over its range of measures to fight the battle, and if this is not handled well, such efforts may result in futility!
The present government remains steadfast, strong and concerted in its focus of manoeuvring the country. It has faced tremendous criticism from the very day it took office and every other single day after that, yet the PN government, in my observation, if at all it has faltered, has been administering and managing its well-structured efforts to assist the people and put the economy back on track, very well.
As citizens of this country, we should all be grateful that there is this government that is so committed and relentless in providing all forms of assistance to ease our hardship while fighting the pandemic. All politicians know about the dangers of Covid-19 but those, especially opposition members, purposefully choose to ignore it. They should understand that their endless politicking will cause us more misery.
There are no two ways to look at the pandemic – it is the responsibility of us all and you, politicians, to seriously help tackle these waves of continuous infectivity for our sake, the rakyat. Wait for the right time to recharge and prove your political wits and strategies, that is once the government has called for the general election.
For now, please be with the government and rakyat to win this battle.
Mohd Hairudin Atan , Batu Pahat, Johor