KUALA LUMPUR: As rumours swirl of a possible state of emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia, opposition politicians have cried foul over such measures.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Anwar Ibrahim expressed his deep concern on reports that the Malaysian government, led by Mr Muhyiddin Yassin, is seeking to implement emergency measures which he said would curb the parliamentary process.
"Today, we have a government which lacks legitimacy, and which knows it would fail to demonstrate majority support in parliament, and is using the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to justify its abuse of power," the opposition leader said in a press statement on Friday (Oct 23).
Mr Anwar, who leads the Pakatan Harapan (PH) bloc in parliament against Mr Muhyiddin's Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, strongly advised the latter to consider the legacy of his actions.
He said while the rest of Asia was looking for ways to manage the virus and reopen their economies, Malaysia was heading in the opposite direction.
Earlier on Friday, Mr Muhyiddin had chaired a special Cabinet meeting in Putrajaya. Following that, he sought an audience with King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah at the latter's palace in Kuantan, Pahang.
Speculation was rife that he was there to convey the Cabinet's decision to implement an emergency in Malaysia amid widespread COVID-19 infections and political instability.
COVID-19 cases in Malaysia have surged to 24,514, with 710 new cases and 10 deaths reported on Friday. There are currently 8,416 active cases in treatment.
Describing the state of emergency as "undemocratic means" to stay in power, Mr Anwar, who had claimed he has a convincing majority to take over the government, said what was needed to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic was transparency, accountability and firm action from the various government ministries.
Mr Mohamad Sabu, the leader of PH component Parti Amanah Negara, said in a separate statement that there were already laws which could be used to fight the pandemic effectively, without needing to declare a nationwide emergency.