Lacking check and balance, Suhakam says Emergency should only be used to tackle Covid-19
Suhakam pointed out that proclamation of Emergency until August, which was issued to contain Covid-19 is unjustifiable. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) yesterday stressed that the state of Emergency should be guided by human rights principles and should not be used for any purpose other than to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Suhakam in a statement said that it is concerned over the lack of check and balance on the concentration of executive powers of the government during the period of Emergency.

“Suhakam noted that during the Emergency period, Parliament and the State Legislative Assemblies will be prorogued until further notice.

“Suhakam stresses that Parliament is a central institution of democracy and it is a body entrusted with the oversight function to ensure that the government is fully accountable to the people,” it said.

Suhakam said the government should uphold its duty and responsibility to respect the rule of law and continue to protect the fundamental liberties of the citizens as guaranteed under the Federal Constitution in its efforts to contain the pandemic.

It also pointed out that proclamation of Emergency until August, which was issued to contain Covid-19 is unjustifiable as the government has already imposed the movement control order (MCO) to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“Suhakam notes that the number of Covid-19 cases has been on the rise since the past few months.

“However, the current measures undertaken by the government including the MCO and strict adherence to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) by everyone may be sufficient to contain the pandemic,” it said.

Suhakam also calls upon the government to provide timely and effective measures to support the economic and social rights of the people.

“Especially the vulnerable communities affected by the state of Emergency and the movement control orders.

“These measures include the provision of support for livelihood, food, education, social protection and health,” it said.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that Parliament and state legislative assemblies will be suspended following the proclamation of Emergency that was scheduled until August 1.

The prime minister added that the government opted against any snap election as it is his responsibility to consider the public health safety amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, he assured Malaysians that the judiciary will also continue to function and carry out its duties without any intervention from his government.