Political issues not solid reason to declare State of Emergency, says minister

Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

By Cornelius Kadir Edison

KUCHING, Oct 23: The State of emergency should not be used to address political issues but it is alright to declare such an “emergency” to battle the Covid-19 pandemic.

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said declaring an emergency over political issues must be justifiable.

He said the emergency can only be imposed under certain circumstances when there is a breakdown in the government system because of wars or disasters.

“I’m not too sure either if the Covid-19 pandemic we are facing now is at the level to justify declaring the emergency.

“But then it is up to the federal government and they have to come up with a concrete reason,” he said

Abdul Karim said, if the state of emergency is declared because of Covid-19 pandemic, it should be imposed in specific areas where there is a surge of positive cases.

“It should not cover Sarawak, unless we see a three or four digit surge a day that constitute as out of control,” he said.

He added that since independence the state of emergency was imposed in specific areas such as Kelantan and Sarawak and during the haze crisis in 1997 and racial riot in 1969, and not throughout the country.

However he hoped this is just a speculation. Declaring a state of emergency was one of the issues discussed during the special cabinet meeting today. –DayakDaily