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Malaysia declares Covid state of emergency amid political turmoil

Baku, January 12, AZERTAC

Malaysia’s king has declared a months-long national state of emergency one day before a strict lockdown is imposed on millions of people, a decision that critics say will allow its unstable government to evade scrutiny and cling to power, according to the Guardian.

A statement by the national palace said Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah had agreed to declare an emergency until 1 August following a request from the prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin. If infections are brought under control, the measures could be lifted more quickly.

The decision is expected to hand huge powers to Muhyiddin and his cabinet. A state of emergency would allow for parliament to be suspended, meaning the government would have the power to introduce laws without approval. Elections would also be put on hold.

The announcement was made on Tuesday morning, as people across the capital Kuala Lumpur and five states prepared for new restrictions. Lockdown measures to be imposed from midnight on Wednesday will ban social activities and interstate travel for the next two weeks, while most businesses will be closed.

Malaysia had managed to mostly control the virus after it introduced a strict lockdown last year, but a fresh outbreak emerged in September linked to an election held in the state of Sabah. Muhyiddin has warned the healthcare system was “at a breaking point”.

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