PRIME Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has just bought himself more time with the emergency proclamation, said analysts.
“He can use this time to get more members of Parliament to join Perikatan Nasional (PN),” said International Islamic University of Malaysia’s Tunku Mohar Tunku Mohd Mokhtar.
“But this is going to be a tall order, given how inefficient the government has been in managing the Covid-19 crisis,” said the political science lecturer.
And while “buying support” appears to be a harsh allegation, there are grounds to support it as many “government” politicians were brought into the cabinet and appointed chief of government-linked companies after Muhyiddin became prime minister last year.
The alleged remarks were believed to have been made at a Bersatu supreme council meeting on February 23, a day before he took the party out of Pakatan Harapan.
Tunku Mohar said while the government was justified to bring back the movement-control order (MCO), the emergency proclamation was “overkill”.
“It seems that with the MCO already announced, the emergency is simply a scheme for PN’s political survival.
“It’s redundant, but clearly the emergency provides a buffer to any challenge to the regime’s legitimacy.
“If what Muhyiddin said is anything to go by, let’s hope the independent committee will decide in the interest of the country when it comes to when the emergency should be ended,” said Tunku Mohar.
Despite announcing the second round of MCO yesterday, Muhyiddin caught everyone by surprise today when he added the emergency proclamation, which will run until August 1.
The prime minister said a state of emergency will give wider powers for his government to tackle the Covid-19 crisis.
And although Parliament and other state legislatures are suspended, Muhyiddin denied that it was a “coup” and promised to hold elections once the country has cleared the Covid-19 crisis.
Muhyiddin now has 109 MPs backing him while the opposition has 111 after the deaths of two lawmakers last year.
But while he has gained time, Universiti Malaya’s Prof Awang Azman Awang Pawi does not believe Muhyiddin has gained much politically.
“While it’s true that PN will not fall soon, despite losing two MPs, it has lost the confidence of the greater public,” said the Malay studies lecturer.
“Umno can still slowly withdraw its support from Muhyiddin despite the emergency proclamation.”
Umno leader Nazri withdrew his support for Muhyiddin just hours after the latter’s national address yesterday.
Awang Azman said that Muhyiddin may gain a “brief respite” from the political attacks but it will continue as Umno’s dissatisfaction with the government is still there.
“If he wants to get the public on his side, the government needs to bring back a full moratorium on loans and ensure easier access to the Employees Provident Fund.”
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT