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The government has given its assurance that the judiciary will continue to function to uphold the law and justice throughout the emergency period. He said his civilian government will remain in charge during the emergency, that will last until August 1 or earlier depending on the situation.

"Thus, Al-Sultan was of the view that the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in this country is at a very critical stage and there is a need to proclaim the state of emergency under Clause (1), Article 150 of the Federal Constitution", he said.

"The emergency declaration.is not a military coup and a curfew will not be enforced", he said.

On Monday, Muhyiddin announced a nationwide travel ban and a 14-day lockdown in the capital Kuala Lumpur and five states, saying the healthcare system for the country of 32 million people was at a breaking point. Key allies in his ruling coalition are threatening to withdraw support, which could lead to the collapse of the government and snap national polls that some fear could worsen the outbreak. Malaysia will tighten movement restriction measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 for two weeks starting January 13, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on Monday.

Malaysia last declared an emergency in 1969 after bloody racial riots that killed hundreds.

However, certain sectors in manufacturing, construction, services, trade and distribution, and plantations will be allowed to operate with strict guidelines.

More news: Canada’s entertainment industry is losing millions due to the coronavirus pandemic

Some lawmakers in the ruling coalition have pulled support for the premier and have called for early elections, while opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said a year ago that he had a majority to form a new government.

The Health Ministry reported 2,232 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the national total to 138,224. But critics expressed worries that the declaration - rarely used in Malaysia - was a gambit to cling to power by Muhyiddin that could erode civil liberties.

"I want to stress that the Emergency declaration by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is not a form of military coup".

Malaysia has been in political turmoil since March past year when Muhyiddin came to power without an election following Mahathir's resignation and the collapse of his reformist administration.

The king had rejected a similar request from Muhyiddin in October.



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