Malaysian regions under lockdown as nation faces emergency rule

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A two-week lockdown affecting Malaysia’s commercial and administrative heartlands began on Wednesday, the day after authorities imposed a nationwide state of emergency.

Local television news reports showed lighter than usual traffic and footfall in Kuala Lumpur, the commercial capital, where people had been told to stay home unless when shopping for essential goods or commuting to work.

The six regions locked down for the next two weeks are around 55 per cent of the country’s 32 million people, where economic output makes up around 65 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Following the Monday lockdown announcement, the government on Tuesday said a state of emergency would also be imposed until Aug. 1, meaning that parliament will not sit.

Opposition leaders have been backed by parliamentarians from governing coalition parties in criticising the new rules as excessive.

Lim Guan Eng, leader of the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) and ex-finance minister, said on Wednesday that the suspension of parliament “should be revoked.’’

He said the revocation was necessary so that lawmakers could compel government to save jobs, businesses and livelihoods.’’

Three members of parliament have since Tuesday withdrawn support for government, leaving Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin atop a minority administration.

However, the suspension of parliament means that government is unlikely to fall.

The Malaysian bar on Wednesday described the emergency declaration as “overblown.’’

After reporting a record of 3,309 new cases of the novel Coronavirus on Tuesday, Malaysia’s Health Ministry on Wednesday confirmed four coronavirus-related deaths and 2,985 new virus cases.

Four government ministers have tested positive for the virus in recent days.

NAN

Jan 13, 2020 @ 15:59| GMT

 

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