Malaysia and the U.S.: The Tale of Two Emergencies

FMT

Fresh off the announcement of the second round of MCO, Malaysians were waking up to another surprise on Tuesday morning as the national palace released a statement on how we may be facing a dreaded national emergency until August 1st.

Among the many SOPs set in place includes the usual banning of interstate travel, inter-district travel, social gatherings and large gatherings such as weddings, wedding receptions, conferences, religious processions (including Thaipusam), meetings, seminars, courses, and group sport activities.

Other than that, we’ll see the usual roadblocks in place, only two people per household allowed to be in a vehicle and to purchases groceries all in a 10km radius. 

Coming to us as something that isn’t new, the second round of SOPs doesn’t even come as a surprise to us anymore as we’ve seen the same situation for almost six months now. An emergency though, does in fact comes as a surprise and Najib Razak has even went as far as saying that a push for a national emergency could mean one thing – politics.

“What else was not enough to fight Covid-19 then? As proven in the first MCO last year, the Prevention of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 is more than enough to contain Covid-19 without the need to declare an emergency or suspend Parliament.” he said in a Facebook post.

He added that such a move by the government would instead lay seeds to the thought that the government only wants to hold on to power.

A move declared by Sultan Abdullah to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, the emergency is effective from January 11th to August 1st but can be lifted earlier when the pandemic is under control. 

Much of civilian life will remain the same in accordance with MCO 2.0, while there will be no military rule or any curfew imposed.

In terms of governing bodies, no parliamentary and state assembly sittings or any elections will be taking place; but, much of the cabinet, state executives and public service is to continue functioning. 

Lastly, the King can also order the taking over of private healthcare facilities by the government, if deemed needed to lessen the burden on public hospitals.

At the other side of the globe, America’s version of a national emergency differs wildly as the nation continues to get hold of the law while working on a presidential transition from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.

On Monday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned of possible armed protests in all 50 U.S. states in the days building up to Biden’s inauguration day on January 20th.

Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington D.C. also wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security seeking tigher security ahead of d-day amid the “chaos, injury, and death” caused by the Capitol riots.

On Tuesday, Trump approve the state of emergency declaration in the U.S. Capital, after increasing amount of threats kept coming in. The order authorises federal assistance in D.C. up until the day of Biden’s inauguration and allows identification, mobilisation and provide for the impacts of the emergency.

Last Monday, mobs of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building, looting as they stormed through and leaving five people dead.

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