Hajiji slammed over proposal to extend emergency

19-Jun-2021 Intellasia | FreeMalaysiaToday | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Chief minister Hajiji Noor did little to endear Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) to the people after talking about a six-month extension to the state of emergency, analysts said.

Socio-political analyst Awang Azman Pawi said Hajiji’s recent proposal will affect the coalition’s image as it goes against the public sentiments of wanting the emergency to end earlier.

“This (emergency extension) is also the opposite of the announcement by the Malay rulers which reflects public sentiments,” he told FMT.

“Hajiji’s suggestion is seen as if he is worried of Sabah Bersatu’s position if there is a power shift in Putrajaya when the emergency ends and Parliament reconvenes.”

Hajiji had said on Tuesday the state government supported the extension of the emergency for a further six months, given the possibility of a spike in Covid-19 cases if by-elections for the Batu Sapi parliamentary and Bugaya state seats were to proceed.

However, the Malay rulers said on Wednesday there was no need for the nation to remain under a state of emergency after August 1.

The Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal, Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, said the rulers acknowledged the health and economic crises the pandemic had caused, as well as the volatile political situation and growing disunity among the people.

Hajiji’s proposal had earlier drawn flak from Warisan’s Sepanggar MP, Azis Jamman, who said the chief minister had made himself a laughing stock of the nation and that he should have instead come up with better excuses.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah senior lecturer Lee Kuok Tiung said Hajiji, as a state leader, might have a different view on how to flatten the infection curve compared to an ordinary citizen, hence his concern over the by-elections taking place.

“But it (emergency extension) is a call that is unpopular because it is in direct conflict with the voices of the people who are disappointed with the government’s flip-flop SOPs in the various movement control orders.

“That’s why it is important now to achieve herd immunity through the vaccination programme. If the current situation prolongs, there is a possibility it might turn into protest votes in the next general election,” he said.

Political economist Firdausi Suffian said an extension of the emergency will create more disruption to the economy and scare off potential investors from Sabah.

“To get back on track, our economy cannot operate under a state of emergency. Lockdowns, though, are a necessary evil and temporarily crucial to contain the virus. But they cannot be the main solution because of the adverse impact on the economy.

“Successful countries that managed to reduce Covid-19 cases are the ones conducting constant testing, strengthening their health capacity and maintaining strict SOPs,” he said.



Category: Malaysia

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