KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who marks his first year in office tomorrow, has reiterated that the state of emergency was an appropriate move taken in response to the Covid-19 health crisis and not because of politics.
He said the declaration of an emergency was not to enable him to hold on to power but to ensure that the Covid-19 pandemic could be managed effectively and speedily.
He gave an assurance that the emergency would be lifted earlier than Aug 1 if the pandemic could be contained and the country was deemed safe from the virus.
“If we can settle it early (and) the Independent Special Committee that was set up says it can be done (lifted), I will just follow … We also do not want to be restricted by such a regulation forever,” he said in a special interview in conjunction with his first anniversary as prime minister.
Muhyiddin said the Emergency Ordinance provided the government with power to propose amendments or enact new laws and regulations by way of ordinances without having to go through the full parliamentary process.
Not worried about legitimacy and support in Parliament
“So, I would like to say that this does not mean the emergency is to enable me to hold the prime minister’s post for a long time. I also do not know which party now has more seats than me; previously there was an attempt to show (the numbers) but it was not proven. “I am confident that I have a big support. I am convinced that my position is constitutionally right. Legal. I cannot sit as an illegitimate prime minister. That’s because I do my work properly. So, I’m not worried about that.
“But the declaration of emergency was not a question of politics; Some politicians view it as political, (but) no. Politics should not be used for emergency, but this Covid requires (declaration of) an emergency … So, I hope the people understand; it was not due to the fear of not getting a majority in Parliament,” he added.
“I don’t want to wait even a day to hold elections”
The prime minister said the 15th general election would be held at a suitable time because the priority is to overcome the Covid-19 threat, which has infected almost 300,000 people and claimed more than 1,000 lives.
“When we are done with it (Covid-19), I don’t want to wait even a day (to hold elections) … we are not worried at all,” he said.
The first Covid-19 case was reported in Malaysia on Jan 25 last year, with the first wave involving imported cases, a second wave at the end of February and the third wave in September after the Sabah state elections.
The state of emergency was declared on Jan 12 to be in force until Aug 1. However an independent committee has been set up to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on when to end the emergency.
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