KUALA LUMPUR - In the latest twist to Malaysia’s ongoing political saga, its King surprisingly rejected a controversial plan proposed by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to impose emergency measures on the country, after discussing the matter with other state monarchs.
Mr Muhyiddin’s suggestion was ostensibly aimed at tackling the Covid-19 pandemic without political distractions. His opponents, however, claimed he no longer commanded a majority support in Parliament, and was using the pandemic as an excuse to stay in power.
“The government has managed the pandemic well and effectively and the King believes the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin can continue implementing its policies and enforcement measures to curb the spread of the pandemic,” said the royal comptroller Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin.
“There is no need at this time for His Majesty to declare an emergency in this country or any part of Malaysia.”
Despite rejecting the emergency plan, the remarks from the Palace on Sunday appeared to endorse Mr Muhyiddin’s government.
The King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, called on parliamentarians to cease all politicking and not to destabilise the existing government. He also stressed that Budget 2021, which will be tabled in Parliament on Nov 6, is crucial in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic and revitalising the economy.
“... there is no need for MPs to continue irresponsible actions that can threaten the stability of the existing government”, said Datuk Fadil.
The Cabinet decision to request for emergency measures had come amid growing uncertainty over Mr Muhyiddin’s control of Parliament ahead of a vote on next year’s Budget.
The Straits Times has learnt that Mr Muhyiddin was locked in deep discussions with close advisors and allies at his residence late Sunday night, to strategise how to react to the setback.
In a statement issued late Sunday night, Mr Muhyiddin noted that the government’s current priority was to protect the people from the pandemic. "I appreciate His Majesty’s faith in the government I lead and welcome his advice that the government’s stability should not be threatened," he said, adding that Cabinet would discuss the royal decree.
Emergency measures, government sources say, would have forestalled a Budget vote, and the need for the country to hold a general election during a pandemic, in the event Mr Muhyddin’s government fails to pass the Budget and prove its majority.
Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa had earlier said an emergency would be one way to legally delay upcoming elections which have been of concern since last month’s Sabah’s polls saw infections spike.
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