Budget 2021 may be delayed as officials push for ‘partial emergency’

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PETALING JAYA: Senior officials in Putrajaya are said to be pushing the government to implement “partial emergency” in Covid-19 red zone areas in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

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Sources close to the talks said they want parliamentary activities suspended for fear of a “Parliament cluster”, referring to possible infections when the Dewan Rakyat meets for 27 days from Nov 2 to Dec 15.

“There are two reasons the senior officials in Putrajaya are pushing for the ‘partial emergency’. One is to reduce any outbreak of Covid-19 and the other to reduce the present political instability,” one source told FMT.

It is not known if the government will accept the concerns of the senior officials. There has been no official announcement on the matter from the government yet.

It is understood that Budget 2021, which is supposed to be tabled on Nov 6, may be delayed if parliamentary activities are suspended.

The source said a “partial emergency” may not involve the military and may be similar to the movement control order (MCO) implemented from March to May.

He said the officials are pushing for the army to assist police at roadblocks, just like during the MCO.

“Daily activities will still be allowed but with more restrictions,” he said, adding that grocery shops and businesses could still continue operating.

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The sources said the proposal was sounded out to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who may discuss it with his Cabinet ministers.

Earlier today, Muhyiddin had a special Cabinet meeting to discuss Budget 2021. It is not known if it discussed the “partial emergency” proposal.

The special Cabinet meeting, held at Putrajaya, started at 9.30am and lasted until 12.30pm. In addition to the ministers, it is believed that Armed Forces chief Affendi Buang, Attorney-General Idrus Harun and Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador were present

The ministers at the meeting were believed to include Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Defence), Hamzah Zainudin (Home), Mohd Radzi Md Jidin (Education), Wee Ka Siong (Transport), Rina Mohd Harun (Women, Family and Community Development), Ronald Kiandee (Agriculture and Food Industry) and Reezal Merican Naina Merican (Youth and Sports)

The areas currently declared under Covid-19 red zones are Kota Setar (Kedah), Timur Laut and Seberang Perai Selatan (Penang) and Larut-Matang-Selama (Perak).

Petaling, Hulu Langat, Gombak, Klang, Sepang and Kuala Langat in Selangor are also red zones, and in Kuala Lumpur, the Titiwangsa area is a red zone.

In Negeri Sembilan, the entire Seremban township is a red zone.

Sabah has many red zones, comprising Beaufort, Kinabatangan, Kota Belud, Kota Kinabalu, Kunak, Lahad Datu, Papar, Putatan, Sandakan, Semporna, Tawau, Ranau, Tuaran, Keningau, Kudat and Penampang.

About 700 to 800 new Covid-19 cases are being reported every day. – FMT

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