It’s the 13 of January 2021 and we are back in MCO (unsurprisingly). An announcement was made on 11 January as to reinstate the Movement Control Order (MCO) which is applied in five states and three Federal Territories.
The purpose of this is to flatten the curve of the ever so spiking number of Covid-19 cases which is taking its toll on the countries healthcare system.
"Our healthcare system is under tremendous pressure now than at any other time since the start of the pandemic," said the premier, adding, "As I have said before, unprecedented situations call for unprecedented measures."
"In light of that, the government has decided to implement the Movement Control Order (MCO) for a period of 14 days, starting at 12.01am on 13 January until 26 January 2021."
Here are things what you need to know about the latest efforts of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic:
1. An emergency can only be declared when there is a public threat to the country
Image via The Economic Times
Article 150 and Article 40 of the Federal Constitution states that an emergency can only be declared by the Agong if he is convinced under advice of the prime minister that there is a security, economic, or public order threat.
The most famous incident in history of when Malaysia declared an emergency or darurat in Bahasa Malaysia, is the “May 13” race riot incident in 1969.
Muhyiddin ensured the public that this emergency is only for the purpose of containing the spread of Covid-19.
2. An emergency allows the Agong to enact laws without the Parliament agreeing to it.
Image via Malaysiakini
Laws can be passed instantly during an emergency and it cannot be challenged by the courts. These laws are referred as Emergency Ordinances (Eos) according to a report by Malay Mail.
As laws can seem a bit too powerful at times, it still comes with some limitations as it concerns Islamic law or customs for the Malays, native law or customs of Sabah and Sarawak, citizenship, religion, or language as seen under Article 150(6) and Clause (6A) of the Federal Constitution.
3. Darurat does not necessarily mean a “military coup”
Image via Bloomberg
Muhyiddin says this emergency is not an opportunity for military to seize power.
"Let me assure you that the civilian government will continue to function. The emergency proclaimed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is not a military coup and curfew will not be enforced,"
He also added that the government administration, Cabinet, and state council meetings will continue on as usual. Administrative machinery and civil service at both state and federal levels will not be interfered.
4. Elections will not be held
Image via CSI Prop
Yes, that means no more cluster Menteri just like Sabah’s election (hopefully).
"Recently, there have been parties trying to push for a General Election," said Muhyiddin.
"I do not intend not to hold an election. The main thing hindering me from advising the Agong to dissolve Parliament and to call for a snap election is the pandemic."
The declaration of an emergency allows the elections to be pushed back to another date. Normally when seats are vacant, an election must be held within 60 days.
5. Dewan Rakyat will not convene
Image via Sinar Harian
As an emergency is declared, the dewan rakyat is overruled under the Federal Constitution.
Without the Parliament sitting, it will render the Opposition powerless as they no longer have the political platform to push for a vote of no-confidence against the Prime Minister or pressure him to step down.
This ensures some stability in Perikatan Nasional (PN) as there will not be any parties planning something against the premier.
6. An EO will be used to borrow help from private hospitals
Image via AP via Free Malaysia Today
As proclaimed by the Agong, several EO’s will allow the usage of private hospital assets temporarily to curb the Covid-19 pandemic. EO’s can also deem possess land, buildings or moveable property of a private hospital to treat Covid-19 patients.
"Accordingly, the government can also get more exclusively involved in the private sector, including private healthcare facilities, to help ease the burden borne by the government, especially public hospitals," he said.
"Through this ordinance, assistance that can be obtained from the private sector include human resources, expertise, facilities, assets, testing laboratories, and utilities."
7. An EO to empower the soldiers
Image via Bernama via Astro Awani
"An ordinance may also be proclaimed to provide enforcement power to the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) — on top of its existing power — to match with the powers held by the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) under the Criminal Procedure Code or any other relevant law enforcement," Muhyiddin said.
The military will also be empowered to assist in performing health-related functions and functions performed by other civil servants.
"In accordance with the proclamation of emergency, national border control will also be tightened by empowering military personnel — working along with police and immigration officers — to have the authority to arrest illegal immigrants and anyone who enters the country through the borders," he added.
8. EO to stiffen punishments on MCO violators.
Muhyiddin said an EO may also be proclaimed to amend the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.
The purpose of this is to increase the effectiveness of enforcement on the Act.
"This includes increasing penalties or punishments for anyone who violates the law and regulations related to COVID-19 pandemic control," he said.
9. An EO to control prices of goods
Image via Iqmal Haqim Rosman/New Straits Times
EO can also be used to protect against economic sabotage, monopoly and excessive price increase of goods. Don’t fall for those who say the prices of masks increase everyone, ensure that you know how much they are actually worth.
Owners who are found to be increasing the prices of items unnecessarily will face stricter and heavier penalties.
10. Muhyiddin promises not to tamper with the judiciary system and reassures foreign investor’s confidence.
Image via Dollars and Sense Malaysia
National regulatory bodies, such as Bank Negara Malaysia, the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC), as well as Bursa Malaysia, will continue to play their role as catalysts, regulators, and facilitators for companies and the market.
"To all the stakeholders keenly monitoring what is happening in Malaysia, I emphasise that Malaysia is open for business," said the premier in English.
"In facing these challenging times, this period of emergency will give us much needed calm and stability, as well as enable us to focus on economic recovery and regeneration."
"We remain committed to good governance in these times and we have a robust and dynamic regulatory ecosystem. We must remember that the government has a six-stage strategy in place for economic recovery since March last year and were incorporated in Budget 2021.
"Continued stability will enable us to sustain and build upon the economic recovery trajectory we have been working hard for since last year."