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Thursday
January 2021
4:12 AM IST
News Headlines
Unlucky Kerala shares spoil with Jamshedpur        England team lands in Chennai, Indians arrive in batches for first two tests        Israel military revising operational plans against Iran        France's Sanofi to boost Pfizer vaccine supply amid EU shortages        Hero MotoCorp to commence its operations in Mexico soon        GHIAL to raise US $300 Mn through bond issue for Hyderabad airport expansion        Cabinet approves MSP of Copra for 2021 season        Rajnath speaks to his US counterpart, the two NSAs also talk, Indo-US ties to deepen further        RJD should cancel it's proposed human chain in view of Republic Day violence: Sushil        Two farmer unions withdraw from protest against farm laws        One million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in India in just 6 days: Health ministry        England near Sri Lanka's 1st innings total after Root's 186        Srikanth resumes training after BAI gets mandatory quarantine time reduced        Melbourne century very special as it was crucial for series victory, says Rahane        FinMin allocates Rs 660 cr additional funds to MP for capex        Markets may remain volatile in holiday-shortened week: Analysts        US condemns Russia's use of harsh tactics against protesters, journalists        Egypt says it has launched vaccination against coronavirus        Qureshi says Pakistan ready to work with new US administration        MP government trying to crush farmers' voice: Kamal Nath        
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International News
Emergency imposed in Malaysia over virus is reprieve for PM
 
Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia''s king on Tuesday approved a coronavirus emergency that will suspend parliament at least until August and halt any bids to seek a general election in a political reprieve for embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. Muhyiddin assured citizens in a televised speech that the emergency was “not a military coup and curfew will not be enforced.” He said his civilian government will remain in charge during the emergency, that will last until August 1 or earlier depending on the situation.

The emergency declaration came as a surprise just a day before millions of people in Malaysia''s biggest city Kuala Lumpur, the administrative capital Putrajaya and five high-risk states return to a near-lockdown for two weeks. It also comes amid threats by the United Malays National Organisation, the largest party in the ruling coalition, to withdraw support from Muhyiddin to force an early general election. Many in UMNO are unhappy that the party is playing second fiddle to Muhyiddin''s own Malay party. Muhyiddin said the national parliament and state legislatures will be suspended and no election is allowed during the emergency. He pledged to call a general election once the crisis has eased and it is safe to hold polls.

Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said most people could understand the need for movement curbs but an emergency declaration appeared overblown as it is unclear how that could help slow the virus spread. “It''s very clearly a political move from the Muhyiddin side to preempt political challenges from both his rivals in his ruling coalition as well as the opposition," he said. Malaysia last declared an emergency in 1969 after bloody racial riots that killed hundreds. The king, who can declare a state of emergency that allows the country to be governed through ordinances that cannot be challenged in court, had in October rejected Muhyiddin''s request to declare an emergency.

King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said at the time that existing laws were sufficient to halt the virus spread. But in a palace statement on Tuesday, the monarch said he took into account public safety and the country''s best interest in giving his consent after meeting Muhyiddin late Monday. The king said he was worried as the pandemic has rose to a critical level and at the same time, some parts of the country are struggling with floods that have displaced thousands. Malaysia''s virus cases have spiralled from just over 15,000 three months ago to 138,224, including 555 deaths, in a fresh outbreak triggered by a local election. Muhyiddin, in announcing the lockdown on Monday, warned the country''s healthcare system was at “breaking point".

He said daily coronavirus cases, which have consistently breached 2,000 in recent weeks, could jump to 8,000 by the end of May if nothing is done. The health ministry also said it has identified the first case of a highly contagious UK variant in the country. Separately, Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin became the third Cabinet minister in days to test positive for the virus, his office said Tuesday. Under the renewed curbs from Wednesday, social gatherings and interstate travel are banned and movement is limited within a 10-kilometre radius, similar to a national lockdown in March 2020. However, certain sectors in manufacturing, construction, services, trade and distribution, and plantations will be allowed to operate with strict guidelines.

Muhyiddin assured investors that “Malaysia is open for business." “This period of emergency will give us much needed calm and stability, as well as enable us to focus on economic recovery and regeneration," he said. Muhyiddin took power in March after instigating the collapse of the reformist alliance that won 2018 elections and joined with the opposition to form a Malay-centric government. But his government is shaky with a razor-thin majority in Parliament. Josef Benedict, a researcher with rights group CIVICUS Monitor, said the emergency appeared to be another bid by Muhyiddin to “hold on to power, block elections and to remove parliamentary oversight" rather than seriously addressing the pandemic. “A dark day for democracy," he tweeted.


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ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
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KERALA NEWS
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NATIONAL NEWS
Cabinet approves MSP of Copra for 2021 season
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Rajnath speaks to his US counterpart, the two NSAs also talk, Indo-US ties to deepen further
RJD should cancel it's proposed human chain in view of Republic Day violence: Sushil
MP government trying to crush farmers' voice: Kamal Nath
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