KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — Malaysians should not be apprehensive about the Emergency Ordinance 2021 declared earlier this week despite the wide-ranging powers concentrated in the Muhyiddin Cabinet, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said today.
The DAP leader said he had just attended an Emergency conference with the National Security Council chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin this morning and that the meeting made it clear the incumbents in their respective state governments are not in jeopardy.
“Even though this Emergency Ordinance gives power to the prime minister to better manage the pandemic, Malaysians should not see any action that will erode our parliamentary democratic system.
“The need for a proclamation of Emergency should be seen as a necessity to reevaluate the strategy and approaches used so far, which have not been effective to free the country from the threat of this virus,” the DAP leader said in a statement this afternoon.
He affirmed the necessity of a nationwide Emergency, saying it enables the authorities to relook its method to contain the Covid-19 surge that has all crippled the public healthcare system.
Chow who is both Padang Kota assemblyman and Tanjong MP said that the powers of the state governments and their respective chief ministers or mentri besar remain as they were before the
“However, the Penang state legislative assembly will not convene until such a time as decided by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong after consultation with the state Ruler or governor,” he said.
Emergency was proclaimed on January 12, just a day after the prime minister announced a return of the movement control order restructuring interdistrict and interstate travel for 14 days from January 13 to 26 in an effort to drastically reduce the daily spike in Covid-19 that have all but crippled the public healthcare system.
The Emergency is to last until August 1, or until Covid-19 cases are within manageable levels again, whichever comes first.
The Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 gazetted yesterday but which takes retrospective effect from January 11 has drawn widespread criticism.
Opposition politicians said the Ordinance places unlimited powers in the hands of the Muhyiddin administration, which raises the possibility of abuse with Parliament and state legislatures as well as elections suspended.