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Govt considering an emergency order to rein in pandemic

Prime Minister’s Office is located at Perdana Putra Building in Putrajaya. MOHD SAHAR MISNI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: An emergency order may be invoked soon to rein in the alarming surge of Covid-19 case.

Multiple sources in Putrajaya said the Covid-19 crisis and the need to declare an emergency were discussed at a special Cabinet meeting at 11am on Monday (Jan 11).

There are no details about what Cabinet decided but Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is scheduled to have an audience with the Yang Di Pertuan Agong on Monday afternoon.

The Prime Minister is expected to brief the King on what transpired at the Cabinet meeting.

A National Security Council meeting is also expected to be held in the afternoon.

The signs seem to be pointing to a more drastic measure to check the spread of the pandemic.

This will be the second attempt by the government to invoke an emergency order to control the pandemic.

The Prime Minister’s priority, said an aide to a minister, is the deadly pandemic.

He is deeply concerned that the country’s healthcare system is beyond its limits and may even be on the verge of collapsing as Covid-19 cases continue to spread and surge.

Each day sees new records being breached for new cases of Covid-19 patients.

Two ministers were recently confirmed as testing positive for Covid-19. They are Datuk Seri Mustapha Mohamad and Datuk Seri Rina Harun.

The flurry of meetings on Monday will probably fuel rumours that Muhyiddin is planning to appoint a deputy prime minister (DPM).

Rumours that Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein will be the next DPM has gone out of control following a report in Sin Chew Daily that Hishammuddin and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob are in the running for the job.

But a Senior Minister said rumours about the DPM appointment will likely remain rumours.

“The Prime Minister has said many times that he is satisfied with the current arrangement of power-sharing. There is no necessity for a reshuffle, ” said the Senior Minister.

An emergency order, if it happens, would involve the suspension of Parliament and any would-be elections during the emergency period.

The earlier attempt to invoke emergency rule had met with fierce opposition.

The last time there was an emergency rule in Malaysia was after the May 1969 race riots.

Two very different sets of speculation are surging.

Will it be the appointment of a new DPM or an emergency order to rein in a killer pandemic?

Source: The Star Online

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