Malaysia’s king declared a nationwide state of emergency in Malaysia on Tuesday to fight a coronavirus surge that is overwhelming hospitals.
But critics say it allows an unstable government to cling to power.
They say the Parliament suspension means there can’t be a vote of no confidence against the government.
Overall, they call it a political emergency, instead of a health emergency.
“The declaration of a state of emergency seems like another attempt by Muhyiddin to hold on to power, block elections and to remove parliamentary oversight, rather than to seriously address the pandemic,” tweeted Josef Benedict from Civicus, a global alliance of civil society organisations and activists.
Marina Mahathir, an activist and the daughter of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, tweeted that an emergency declaration was a “declaration of failure”.
“Failure to manage the pandemic, failure to govern, failure to care about the people,” she wrote.
Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah agreed to declare an emergency until August 1 following a request from Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
The PM on Monday announced sweeping lockdowns in 8 states but in between he was lobbying for a national emergency.
With this emergency, parliament would be suspended and elections would not take place, The king is also able to enact new laws if necessary in an emergency.
Read a full story on the emergency in Malaysia here: