MCO might be justified but not an emergency


IT is understandable why the government has to impose a movement control order (MCO) for the next two weeks and there is possibility it might be extended beyond the present deadline.

While the Covid-19 pandemic went beyond government control, but the government must bear the ultimate responsibility. 

The government could have reduced the number of positive cases by a clever combination of measures, but then it failed.

Its political survival was given the top most priority to the extent of neglecting health matters related to the pandemic.

The Health Ministry could only do so much because of the preponderant role of politics.

Opposition from Umno and constant calls for the Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to resign indicated the Perikatan Nasional government was on rocky ground.

Whatever the unpopularity of the government, the introduction of the MCO was accepted to address the larger good of the nation.

Even with the slow pace of the economy and the attrition of the informal economic sector, Malaysians were prepared to allow the government a free hand in the management of health matters.

But the general level of confidence in the country towards the government and its management of the pandemic was getting battered.

Even in the distribution of vaccine, the government was dragging its feet.

Sad to say, even during the period of anxiety, the pull of self-interests was greater than what was good for the nation.

Some have argued that there was no need for the MCO in the first place, the government could have addressed the twin concerns of the economy and health by a judicious combination measures.

But the government failed.

Anyway, it is now academic whether there is need for MCO or not.

Even if the MCO is grudgingly accepted, what is not accepted is the need for a state of an emergency until August.

Was not MCO sufficient to address the pandemic, why the need for an emergency.

How is the emergency going to bring down the Covid-19 positive cases by giving powers to the executive.

Emergency will suspend parliament and state assemblies, which essentially means that the present government would not be challenged on the question of majority.

And you don’t need an emergency to integrate the private healthcare sector to combat the pandemic.

It is a complete hogwash to say that emergency measures are needed to combat the deadly pandemic.

It might not be too wrong to suggest that the PN government needs both the MCO and the emergency to survive for the next few months.

In fact, the pandemic was a golden opportunity for the survival of the PN government that came through the backdoor early last year.

Muhyiddin is so desperate that would cling on to a straw just to survive for a few months.

With daily sabre rattlings from Umno, the question is: how long is the Muhyiddin administration going to last.

MCO might be justified, but not an emergency. – January 13, 2021.

* Ramasamy Palanisamy reads The Malaysian Insight.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.


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