JOHOR BAHRU: Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar has called for Members of Parliament (MPs) and state assemblymen representing constituencies in Johor to meet and discuss how to overcome the COVID-19 situation.
In a statement on his Facebook page on Thursday (May 20), Sultan Ibrahim said that these elected representatives "need to play a role" in curbing the pandemic and extend help to those who are affected.
"I am aware of the Emergency Ordinance that is in force preventing parliament and DUN (state legislative assembly) sittings from being held at this time.
"However, I think the services of MP and assemblymen in the state of Johor need to be mobilised to continue helping the people affected by the spread of this pandemic," said Sultan Ibrahim.
He urged for a meeting involving all MPs and assemblymen and chaired by the Johor chief minister.
"At the meeting, all MPs and assemblymen can give their thoughts and views in curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and how to resolve issues faced by the people of Johor," said the Johor ruler.
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A state of emergency was declared in Malaysia in January over the critical pandemic situation.
In March, Malaysia's Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Takiyuddin Hassan reiterated that there will be no parliamentary sittings during Malaysia's state of emergency which is slated to last until Aug 1.
He emphasised that parliamentary sittings may only be held if there is a decision made by the Cabinet.
Politicians have criticised the government, led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, for using the state of emergency to avoid a parliamentary sitting and prevent a vote of no confidence from taking place.
Sultan Ibrahim's call for a meeting came on the back of rising COVID-19 cases in the southern state. On Thursday, Johor recorded 615 cases as Malaysia reported a record high of 6,806 new COVID-19 cases.
On Wednesday, Johor's Health and Environment Committee chairman R Vidyanathan said there were 72 active clusters in the state.
He added that Johor has recently seen a spike in COVID-19 cases in the community due to social and religious activities that did not comply with health protocols.
In response to the sultan's decree, Johor Chief Minister Hasni Mohammad said in a statement that the discussion involving the state's parliamentarians and state legislators would be held next week, adding that the state government guaranteed that the matters discussed would be presented to the National Security Council.
"The discussion will strengthen and improve all efforts that have been and will be undertaken by the state and federal governments to contain the pandemic, including increasing the capacity of the existing Low-Risk COVID-19 Quarantine and Treatment Centres and vaccine distribution centres in Johor," he said.