KUALA LUMPUR: There will be no parliamentary sitting or election during the duration of Malaysia's state of national emergency, said Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in a national address on Tuesday (Jan 12).
"Parliament will not sit until a time determined by the king. Throughout the duration of the state of emergency, no general election, state election or by-election will be held," said Mr Muhyiddin.
Mr Muhyiddin's address came just after King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah declared a state of emergency across the country to curb the spread of COVID-19. The emergency will last until Aug 1 or earlier depending on the state of coronavirus infections.
In his speech, Mr Muhyiddin noted that there "are some parties desperate to hold a general election".
He said: "It is not my intention not to hold a general election. The main issue that prevents me from advising the king to dissolve parliament to hold the election is the COVID-19 pandemic."
Holding a general election while the pandemic is ongoing will threaten the lives of the people, he added.
He pointed out that the state of emergency is not a military coup. "Let me assure you that the civilian government will continue to function. The emergency proclaimed by the king is not a military coup and curfews will not be enforced," Mr Muhyiddin said.
He added that the Cabinet, state executive councils and government services will continue to operate.
"I give my assurance that the government machinery and public service will not be affected by this emergency declaration," he said.
The prime minister said in order to ensure that the state of emergency is held in a just and sincere manner, an independent special committee will be formed under an ordinance to advise the king if the state of emergency should be extended or ended earlier.
He added that during the state of emergency, the king is also able to issue ordinances to utilise private land, hospitals and laboratories for the government to use in its fight to combat COVID-19.
In a statement on Tuesday morning, the king noted that the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country was at "a very critical level" and that "there is a need to declare a proclamation of emergency based on clause (1) Article 150 of the Constitution".
Article 150 of the Constitution stipulates that the king may issue a proclamation of emergency, upon the advice of the prime minister, if he is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby the security, economic life or public order is threatened.
The palace announcement came a day after the prime minister announced tighter curbs, incuding a nationwide travel ban. Additionally, five states including Penang, Selangor, Melaka, Johor and Sabah, and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan will be placed under Movement Control Order (MCO) again from Wednesday until Jan 26.
The number of new daily infections hit a record high last week, breaching the 3,000 mark for the first time. Total coronavirus cases passed 138,000 on Monday, with 555 deaths.