The Emergency Ordinance 2021: Multiple Perspectives on Health, Economy & Politics

19 January 2021
8:30pm (Malaysian Standard Time)

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The recent proclamation of emergency by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong cited grave concerns on national security, economic life, and public order resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Officially termed as the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021, the federal constitution grants temporary special powers to the Agong in various areas, including the authority to take over private hospitals, allocate state resources, as well as deploy additional military and police. Public reception to the proclamation, however, is mixed.

Primary concerns revolve around the triumvirate of health, economy, and politics. Questions arise on the effectiveness of an emergency compared to current movement control orders (MCO), and how it affects current policies aiming to strike a balance between health and the economy. In terms of politics, the ordinance has removed the possibility of having a general election up until August, sparking polarised debates on the merits of maintaining the present government or replacing it, especially in the overall fight against COVID-19.


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