The Malaysian Bar welcomes and hails the wise move of His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to protect the interest of the rakyat by not declaring a state of emergency under Article 150(1) of the Federal Constitution.
The decision by His Majesty was made after a meeting with the Malay rulers at the Istana Negara [on 25 October].
We echo the views of His Majesty and the Malay rulers that there are already current laws and mechanisms that have wide-ranging and comprehensive powers to manage the Covid-19 pandemic.
A proclamation of emergency would likely have resulted in a constitutional crisis, and such a crisis must be avoided at all costs. We must always remember to uphold the pillars of democracy, which form the bedrock of this nation, in any given situation.
The Malaysian Bar therefore urges politicians and the public to adhere to the rule of law and the Constitution, and to respect the royal decree. Peace and stability, without question, supersede any form of disputes between politicians from differing factions.
What the nation now needs is to focus on the health and welfare of the rakyat, especially those serving on the front lines of this pandemic. Sufficient support must be provided to doctors, nurses and all those involved in the fight against the invisible enemy.
At this juncture, reviving the economy should also be prioritised, in light of the loss of employment during the pandemic. The only way we can thrive as a nation, in any situation, is through resilience and unity. We must be integrated in our approach, no matter the issue. Only then will we be able to emerge stronger and more tenacious as a nation.
Salim Bashir is president of the Malaysian Bar
This piece is reproduced from here and has been edited for style only.