Ministers should work harder during emergency

Ministers should not surrender their duties and be more effective in administering their portfolios, says geostrategist


CABINET ministers should be busier with their jobs under the emergency since there is no political distraction, according to analysts.

Geostrategist Dr Azmi Hassan said even though the Parliament is suspended, ministers should not surrender their duties and be more effective in administering their portfolios.

“Before the emergency, a number of ministers were too preoccupied with internal party matters that, in a way, took away their full attention on their ministerial position.

“So now, no more distraction. No excuse for non-performance,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

Azmi said MPs should also do what they can to provide check and balance to the government even when Parliament is suspended.

“MPs need to make sure the government limits the use of emergency ordinance only on matters related to the pandemic.

“With emergency powers, the government now has full control in making decisions regarding the pandemic,” he added.

Universiti Sains Malaysia political scientist Dr Azmil Tayeb said the government is functional even during emergencies because of the civil servants who are running the day-to-day business.

He said the government is not justified in its decision to sideline Parliament, and ministers are still required to perform normal democratic processes.

“They have to. They are serving the rakyat after all — at least theoretically speaking,” he told TMR.

Azmil said there is no danger of the government failing to administer the country because it has capable civil servants.

“In this time of pandemic, I doubt there will be any serious change in policy if the government changes hands now. The only concern is holding an election during the pandemic,” he added.

On Jan 12, King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah consented to the proclamation of emergency until Aug 1 this year to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin Muhyiddin has promised to call a general election as soon as the Covid-19 situation subsides.

Opposition members want to hold the PM to his word, but Senator Liew Chin Tong asked whether there will be election if Muhyiddin’s popularity gets worse.

He said even during the emergency, Muhyiddin may have a falling out with Umno leaders, despite them being in the same coalition government.

He said the only hope is that Malaysian voters have matured since the last time the emergency was declared in 1969, in response to racial riots.

“If anything, there is a huge population of swing voters who have high expectations of the government who would not tolerate a one-party state authoritarian rule,” he told TMR.