KUALA LUMPUR (May 7)--Armed Forces veterans group Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan and Plan of Action for Malaysia, a coalition of over 20 civil society groups have appealed to the country rotational monarch to repeal of the Emergency Ordinance effective which he signed into force on Jan. 11.
The asserted that the emergency, proclaimed ostensibly to allow the current Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to more effectively combat the raging COVID-19 situation in the country, had caused more harm than good.
“Other than the legal issue well-articulated by luminaries, economists have also argued that the past few months under emergency rule has done more damage than good. The economy has contracted further, while at the same time did not help to arrest the rate of infectivity. There are other issues that point to the emergency proclamation as hardly legitimate and unnecessary.
“With regards to COVID-19, vaccines, the pandemic, and all issues pertaining to health, the knowledge of such nature is not a monopoly of a vested few. Similarly, it is a grave mistake to assume only those in the establishment have the knowledge and be allowed to make decisions for the millions when there are many unknowns pertaining to the mid and long-term effects of vaccines, variants of the virus, and uncertainty regarding immunity. Others not in the establishment may be equally or more knowledgeable in certain aspects.
“Hence, it is time to consider that there is more than one strategy available to tackle the scourge of COVID-19 disease. The establishment must be open for ideas from others who are equally knowledgeable. Governance of the country faced with such a pandemic that catalysed our economic downturn cannot be left to just the National Security Council,” they said.
The groups also urged the lifting of the emergency to allow Parliament to reconvene, arguing that the PN regime has failed to check the country’s economic woes and also failed to contain the spread of the virus.
“In fact, it caused more unnecessary socio-economic hardship. The basis for the continuance under emergency rule is now absent. The only reason for the continuance is political, and for a government that can hardly be considered legitimate because its existence has no mandate from the people,” they said.
The PN regime, led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin came to power last March following the abrupt resignation of his predecessor Mahathir Mohamad, with the opposition having disputed the number of MPs supporting his administration.
His political opponents including former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad have accused him of using the emergency to cling to power.