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Target for lockdown easing - Malaysiakini

Good morning, here’s a quick rundown of what happened over the weekend.

Key Highlights

Target for lockdown easing

The government plans to ease lockdown restrictions when the daily average Covid-19 cases fall
below 4,000.

This is expected to take place in
two weeks, which is also when the extended “total lockdown” is up for another review on June 28.

Past experiences have shown that easing restrictions eventually leads to a more severe surge in Covid-19 infections.

However, a key aspect that Putrajaya plans to do differently this time is to expedite the vaccination of those in the economic sector.

Already, changes are being made to the National Immunisation Programme (NIP), although it was not packaged as a new pivot.

Phase 3 (general population) is now on the back burner while
Phase 4 (economic sector) will run concurrently with Phase 2 (sick, disabled and senior citizens).



Emergency goalpost

A seemingly innocent comment by Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong will decide on the state of emergency has sparked a debate.

De facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan took issue with the comment, stating that it was the government
that will advise the ruler on whether the emergency, which expires in August, will be extended.

While Article 40 of the Federal Constitution does state that the Agong is to act on the advice of the cabinet, it won’t be the first time of the ruler
rejecting the government’s advice.

The government may challenge the ruler in court, but such a move is considered politically taboo.

The late Karpal Singh was charged
with sedition for threatening to sue the Perak sultan on a similar issue regarding the ruler’s prerogative.

There is also the issue that the government had, when it announced the emergency on Jan 12, pledged that an
independent panel would be the one advising the ruler on the direction of the emergency.

This prompted accusations that the government
was shifting the goalpost but Takiyuddin said he was only “correcting” the rules so that the “referee” could make the right decision.



Political divisions

The political jostling is picking up ahead of the emergency expiry but the division in the opposition persists.

The Pakatan Harapan presidential council came out
strongly against Pejuang pro-tem chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s proposal for a National Operations Council (NOC) to replace the PN government.

However, Mahathir is pressing on, releasing a
manifesto for a non-partisan NOC.

Similar divisions allowed Muhyiddin Yassin to emerge as prime minister during the Sheraton Move and retain power despite his uncertain majority.

However, more cracks are also emerging in the ruling coalition, with at least two ministers –
Hishammuddin Hussein and Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof criticising their own government’s management of the Covid-19 pandemic.



A daily glance at Covid-19

  • 5,304 new cases yesterday (June 13).
  • Active cases declined for seven consecutive days from 86,628 to 7,3324, suggesting that the pandemic situation was on the path of recovery, although it is still serious. 
  • The number of Covid-19 patients continued to creep upwards although the rate of increase has slowed significantly. It increased from 902 to 917 last week.
  • For trends on daily cases, tests, hospital beds capacity, vaccination progress and more, follow our Covid-19 tracker.

What else is happening?

  • Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, who was sacked as the Prasarana chairperson for insensitive comments about last months LRT crash, claimed he was treated unfairly and threatened legal action against those who had “humiliated” him.
  • The National Pharmaceuticals Regulatory Agency said the Lian Hua Qing Wen pills, which are being promoted by certain politicians for Covid-19 treatment, is not intended for that purpose.
  • Works Minister Fadillah Yusof is the latest minister to be tested positive for Covid-19.
  • Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin said raids against undocumented migrants would continue despite concerns that it will deter them from coming forward to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
  • Police are investigating an incident at a private hospital in Shah Alam where two newborn babies were accidentally swapped.



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