Nearly 35,000 Malaysians have signed an online petition calling for an end to the state of emergency.
Since last month, people have been signing the online petition urging the king to abolish the state of emergency, which hasn’t been successful in containing the coronavirus spread but spawned two new laws without passing through parliament. Former federal territories minister Khalid Abdul Samad, who is leading the petition, also accused the government of abusing its emergency powers and affecting the country’s democratic system.
“Malaysians urge the Agong to abolish the state of emergency under The Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance that was declared on 11 January 2021,” a statement on the “Tamat Darurat” page said.
“Although the king has said, on 24 February 2021, that parliamentary sittings may resume, the Cabinet Ministers have not done so. This will eventually have a negative impact on the country’s economy and image. This state of emergency has also affected the democratic system in the country,” it added. The petition was created by a group known as the Committee for the Cessation of State of Emergency.
A video put up on the petition page said that the state of emergency has done nothing to ease the number of COVID-19 infections while also accusing the government of misusing it to help Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin remain in power. Malaysia has been placed under a state of emergency until Aug. 1, or when the COVID-19 numbers decrease. During which, parliamentary proceedings have been suspended till further notice. Without checks and balances through parliament, the government has already enacted new laws since March, including one against “fake news” widely seen as a threat to freedom of expression, and another that allowed the Finance Ministry to approve additional spending of federal funds without going through formal parliamentary approval.
Malaysia continues to record thousands of cases each day since the third wave began during the Sabah state election in September. Loosened coronavirus restrictions, including allowing businesses other than those in the nightlife industry to operate as normal, have also led many to question the point of having a state of emergency.
Malaysia has recorded 375,054 COVID-19 infections and 1,378 deaths.
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