Malaysia leader accused of grabbing power after parliament suspended

Muheedin Yasin during a live news broadcast on 12 January.

Photographer: Samsul Said / Bloomberg

In explaining why Malaysia needed to suspend democracy to fight the epidemic for the first time in half a century, Prime Minister Muheedin Yasin assured the nation not to undertake a military coup.

But his opponents were hard to see as anything but the first nationwide emergency since 1969, but power grabbing. While the Southeast Asian nation has seen an increase in coronovirus cases in recent weeks, along with several other countries, measures to combat the epidemic have generally received widespread support across the political spectrum.

Pakatan Harapan, the leader of the main opposition party in Parliament, said in a statement after the announcement, “Don’t hide behind Kovid-19 and burden the people with the declaration of emergency to protect yourself.”

The only problem easily solved by the Emergency was Muheedin’s political troubles: some of the leading leaders of the ruling coalition, the United Malaysian National Organization (UMNO), had recently called for fresh elections as soon as possible. Now, with Parliament potentially suspended until August, the Prime Minister does not have to worry about any election soon.

While the move brings stability to Malaysia for the first time since a political coalition toppled the coalition government early last year and brought Muiddin to power, it also threatens the country’s democracy. before that In the last election 2018, the same ruling coalition ruled for nearly six decades – often with a heavy-handed strategy that tried to silence the media and opposition leaders.

Malaysia last saw a nationwide emergency in 1969, when the parliament was adjourned for two years due to racial riots between ethnic Malays and Chinese. According to Oh EI Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute, the emergency is now “completely unnecessary”, as there are no criteria to meet and “no sensible MP” from either party to end the epidemic. Will not take steps. International affairs.

He said, “If you are not careful, we will come into a confrontation with parliamentary democracy.” “” This is addictive – future governments will implement the state of emergency once again. “

Investors were cautious following the announcement on Tuesday with the decline in ringgit and the country’s major stock index. A lockdown announced on Monday prompted Fitch Solutions to reduce Malaysia’s 2021 economic growth forecast from 11.5% to 10%, while warning that sanctions could last months.


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