KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 — The state of emergency declared today is not a military coup, and during this period the civilian government will continue to function as usual, including efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin also said no curfew will be enforced throughout the emergency period, while the functions of the federal and state administrative machinery will not be affected.
“In terms of government administration, the Cabinet and state executive councils will continue to function in accordance with the Federal Constitution and any ordinance issued by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong from time to time.
“Let me assure you that the civilian government will continue to function. The emergency proclaimed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is not a military coup and curfew will not be enforced,” he said in a special national address broadcast live by local television stations today.
Al-Sultan Abdullah today proclaimed an emergency that will be enforced up to Aug 1 as a proactive measure to contain the worsening COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia.
Datuk Pengelola Bijaya Diraja of Istana Negara, Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, said in a statement that His Majesty decreed that the emergency be in force up to that date, or earlier if the number of positive COVID-19 cases can be effectively controlled and reduced.
Elaborating, Muhyiddin said the Cabinet, in advising Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, was of the view that a state of emergency for the whole country had to be declared in view of the rising number of COVID-19 infections that do not seem to show any indication of going down anytime soon.
“Therefore, the government needs certain powers to ensure the pandemic can be contained more effectively and health services are not incapacitated. The Emergency Ordinance was proclaimed to enhance security enforcement and public order at a time when the nation is battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In addition, the necessary powers under this Ordinance will also be used to facilitate matters and overcome regulations that make it difficult to deliver public health services quickly, efficiently and effectively during this pandemic,” he said.
He said throughout the emergency period, if His Majesty was satisfied that there were certain situations that gave sufficient reasons for immediate action to be taken, His Majesty can then issue any ordinance needed according to current developments.
“In this context, several Emergency Ordinances can be proclaimed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for the purpose of curbing COVID-19, covering matters related to the use of private hospital assets, temporary ownership of land, buildings or movable property of private hospitals or to request the use of private hospital resources for the purpose of treating COVID-19 patients,” he said.
This way, Muhyiddin said, the government would be able to get more inclusive involvement from the private sector, including private healthcare facilities, to help ease the burden borne, especially by public hospitals.
He said through this ordinance, the assistance obtained from the private sector would include human resources, expertise, facilities, assets, test laboratories and utilities.
The prime minister said an ordinance can also be issued to amend the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 to increase the effectiveness of the enforcement of this act to contain COVID-19 transmissions.
“This includes increasing penalties or punishment for anyone who violates laws and regulations related to the control of COVID-19,” he said.
Muhyiddin said to ensure the implementation of the emergency period was done fairly and transparently, an independent committee would be established to make recommendations to His Majesty if it deems fit that the emergency should continue beyond Aug 1 or can be withdrawn much earlier.
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