Editorial Notes

The Malay Rulers' decision and the lesson for Muhyiddin: Sin Chew Daily

The paper says that while the Malay Rulers support the government led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, they must also listen to the voices of the people

A woman passes by a mural depicting Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Oct 27, 2020.
A woman passes by a mural depicting Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Oct 27, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (SIN CHEW DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Malay Rulers have expressly rejected Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's "emergency decree".

The PM's excuse is that the government wants all political activities to stop so as not to disrupt the government's effort to fight the coronavirus while not adversely affecting the country's economy.

That proposal speaks volumes of the political dilemma the PM is in. If the 2021 Budget to be tabled on November 6 is not adopted by the Parliament, the Parliament is at risk of dissolution.

By comparison, His Majesty Yang di-Pertuan Agong feels that the declaration of emergency must take into account several factors, such as the country's constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy system as well as international perception, the country's global image and concerns of foreign investors.

Additionally, the move may also impact the national economy and the confidence of Malaysians, and as such, the proposal has been rejected.

The King and Malay Rulers have made it very clear that they want to contain the coronavirus outbreak, revive the economy and stabilise the political situation.

They don't want to get involved in the political squabbles between Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional (PN).

Given the fact Mr Muhyiddin's government is extremely weak and may have to deal with possible risk of collapse every now and then, for the sake of political stability, His Majesty has ordered all parties to stop their political fights and concentrate on the most pertinent and prioritised issues encountered by the nation.

Mr Muhyiddin's plan to declare a state of emergency in the pretext of containing the virus has triggered a tremendous backlash among the opposition MPs, as well as some Umno leaders and most of social media users.

The Malay Rulers have seen all this. While they support the government led by Mr Muhyiddin, they must also listen to the voices of the people.

In this particular issue, the King and Malay Rulers have offered Mr Muhyiddin a solution to firm up his administration while the "emergency decree" abhorred by many organisations and Malaysians in general is rejected.

As for the opposition, while they have successfully baffled the prime minister's credibility in this incident, they too must hearken to His Majesty's advice to stop the no-confidence vote against Mr Muhyiddin in the upcoming parliamentary sitting and support the PN government's Budget 2021.

Mr Muhyiddin summoned a special cabinet meeting on Friday (Oct 23), and then hurried to Istana Abdulaziz in Kuantan with several cabinet ministers to have an audience with His Majesty Yang di-Pertuan Agong to show that he was indeed sincere in declaring a state of emergency to contain the virus.

The King did not want this issue to drag on for too long and cause panic among the people, so he chaired a Conference of Malay Rulers meeting the following day and came out with the decision of not acceding to the PM's request to declare emergency.

Mr Muhyiddin should draw a valuable lesson from this incident to not proclaim something to the world before it becomes a reality, not unlike opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim earlier holding a press conference hastily before he was sure how many people would actually stand by him.

Sin Chew Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 24 news media organisations.