Why fear about elections if it’s a well being emergency, says lawyer

Why worry about elections if it’s a health emergency, says lawyer

Andrew Khoo (left) and Thomas Fann both say that a general election is not necessary.

PETALING JAYA: A lawyer and an activist for electoral reforms have doused the reaction of Federal Minister Annuar Musa to criticism of alleged plans for a state of emergency with cold water.

Amid speculation about a possible declaration of a state of emergency, Annuar had asked lawyers for alternative laws that could postpone elections.

Andrew Khoo, co-chair of the Malaysian Bar Association's Constitutional Law Committee, said no nationwide emergency was required as stricter enforcement of the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Act could control the spread of the virus, as it did at the time the Movement Control Ordinance went into effect.

“It is the neglect of enforcement that is the problem. So negligent that even cabinet ministers can break the rules with almost impunity, ”he said. "But the main point is that the real reason for an emergency announcement has already been uncovered by the minister himself and has nothing to do with the health pandemic."

Questioning Annuar's reasons for discussing the election issue, he said it would only happen if the government lost a vote of confidence or its budget was defeated in parliament, resulting in Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin resigning.

Annuar had mentioned the upcoming by-election of Batu Sapi, which was scheduled for December 5th, and the elections for the Sarawak State Assembly, which must take place by mid-2021.

He said 87% of voters said they didn't want a general election for fear of the spread of Covid-19.

Khoo said a general election was not necessary even if the prime minister resigned as the king could call on another MP who commands the majority of the Dewan Rakyat.

The lack of a real and convincing justification for a national emergency is "visible to all," said Khoo.

Electoral reform activist Thomas Fann said other countries have shown that elections can be conducted safely during a pandemic.

“We safely held by-elections in Chini and Slim while facing Covid-19. Sabah could be better, but we can learn from our shortcomings and from other countries. "

He said while the Batu Sapi by-election and the Sarawak state election must take place, they can be safely carried out if sanitary rules are followed.

Fann said there was no need for a general election. "If Muhyiddin really cares about the rakyat's health, he could graciously resign along with Annuar and the rest of his cabinet. Then the Dewan Rakyat could choose a member of parliament as the next Prime Minister. "