KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 — Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah today proclaimed an emergency that will be enforced up to Aug 1 as a proactive measure to contain the worsening COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia.
Datuk Pengelola Bijaya Diraja of Istana Negara, Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, said in a statement that His Majesty decreed that the emergency be in force up to that date, or earlier if the number of positive COVID-19 cases can be effectively controlled and reduced.
Al-Sultan Abdullah also consented to a government proposal to set up an independent committee comprising government and opposition MPs as well as health experts to manage the COVID-19 situation, he said.
“This Independent Committee will make recommendations to His Majesty if it deems fit that the emergency can be withdrawn much earlier (than Aug 1),” he said.
Ahmad Fadil said His Majesty had consulted the Malay Rulers on the proclamation of emergency.
He said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, at an audience at 5.30 pm yesterday, presented Al-Sultan Abdullah the decision of the Cabinet proposing the proclamation of emergency to contain COVID-19 and flatten the curve in view of the number of cases having reached four digits.
Besides the explanation by the prime minister, His Majesty was also briefed by Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali; Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun; Chief of Defence Forces Tan Sri Affendi Buang; Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador; Director-General of Health Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah and Election Commission Chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh, he said.
“Al-Sultan Abdullah felt that the COVID-19 pandemic in the country is at a very critical level and there is a need to proclaim an emergency under Clause (1) of Article 150 of the Federal Constitution,” he said.
Clause (1) of Article 150 of the Federal Constitution states: “If the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby the security, or the economic life, or public order in the Federation or any part thereof is threatened, he may issue a Proclamation of Emergency making therein a declaration to that effect”.
Ahmad Fadil said His Majesty also took into account the safety of the people and the interests of the nation based on the current statistics pertaining to COVID-19, especially the constraints of the logistics facilities in the states that were presented during the briefings.
These statistics show that 15 hospitals recorded over 70 per cent usage of beds (excluding ICU beds) for COVID-19 patients, with 100 per cent usage of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital and Universiti Malaya Medical Centre and 83 per cent usage at the Sungai Buloh Hospital.
The usage of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients in Perak, Selangor, Melaka, Terengganu and Sarawak has exceeded 70 per cent.
Ahmad Fadil said Al-Sultan Abdullah is very concerned about the safety of the people, especially at this time when the people in several states are having to cope with the seasonal floods.
“His Majesty has expressed concern over the effects of the floods and drastic rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country. If these cases are not effectively contained and controlled, they can be detrimental to the health of the people and well-being of the country,” he said. As of yesterday, the COVID-19 infectivity rate was 28,554 cases with 2,232 new cases reported taking the cumulative total to 138,224.
Al-Sultan Abdullah advised the people to remain calm and resilient in facing the emergency and the MCO in six states, Enhanced MCO (EMCO) in six states and Recovery MCO (RMCO) in two states for the common safety and interests.
Muhyiddin yesterday announced the imposition of the MCO in six states/territories, namely Penang, Selangor, Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan, Melaka, Johor and Sabah for 14 days from Jan 13 to 26.
He also announced the imposition of the EMCO in six other states, namely Pahang, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan, and CMCO in Perlis and Sarawak.
Ahmad Fadil said Al-Sultan Abdullah decreed that the people exercise discipline in complying with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) as well as all other orders imposed by the government and relevant agencies during the emergency and MCOs.
“His Majesty expressed confidence that the spirit and cooperation demonstrated by the people, such as during the MCO last year, we will be able to once again contain the COVID-19 infections effectively,” he said.
Al-Sultan Abdullah also expressed the hope that the COVID-19 vaccine to be procured will also flatten the pandemic curve and curb transmission of the disease in Malaysia.
His Majesty expressed his highest appreciation for the frontline heroes and heroines who sacrifice their lives and work hard regardless of fatigue and time to combat COVID-19, he said.
He said Al-Sultan Abdullah called on the people to join His Majesty in praying that Malaysia will always be protected from all forms of threats and that the COVID-19 pandemic can be effectively contained and terminated soon.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong also called on the people to pray for the flood disaster in several states to end soon, he said.