: Malaysia is now facing a deadly invisible adversary. The government has worked tirelessly to discontinue the chain of transmission of the COVID-19 plague through the Movement Control Order (MCO) enforced throughout the nation since 18 March 2020.
The police and the army have been despatched all across the country to ensure that the MCO is abide by all.
Almost a month ago, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad dramatically stepped down as the Prime Minister on Monday, 24 February 2020.
This has placed the nation in a political riddle on the future leadership of Malaysia. COVID -19 arrived into the country a month before Tun Dr. Mahathir stepped down.
The first case was reported on 25 January 2020 which involved tourists from China. Nevertheless, the first wave of COVID-19 was not as extreme as the second.
In fact, the leaders of the then ruling party did not place a ban on the arrival of Chinese tourist as affirmed by the statement made by the former Tourism Minister, Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi on 22 January 2020.
COVID-19 has yet to become daily headlines then as focus was on the future of the Malaysian political leadership following Tun Dr. Mahathir’s resignation.
He was frustrated that most political leaders in Malaysia was busy politicking that they have ignored the economic and health crisis that are beleaguering the nation.
His resignation automatically dissolved the Malaysian cabinet that has been in service for a mere 22 months.
Nevertheless, Tun Dr. Mahathir remained as the interim Prime Minister as requested by the King, Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Dipertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.
Malaysia fell into political uncertainty when the Members of Parliament on both sides work hard to gain support in forming the ruling coalition.
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin were among those who were named as candidates of the upcoming Prime Minister.
The King played his role actively as the head of the nation as allowed by the Constitution.
All Members of Parliament were summoned to the National Palace for him to carefully make decision on who should be Prime Minister.
Article 43(2) of the Federal Constitution stipulates that the YDPA may appoint a Prime Minister which he thinks may have gained support of majority of the members of the Dewan Rakyat.
If this is not done, the King may choose to dissolve the Parliament as allowed under Article 55(2) of the Federal Constitution and thereafter, general elections would have to take place.
The King finally resolves the nation’s political turmoil by appointing Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and he was sworn in as the Prime Minister on Sunday, 1 March 2020 at the National Palace.
Not too long after that, COVID-19 became an outbreak in Malaysia and MCO was declared throughout the country just seventeen days after Tan Sri Muhyiddin was sworn in.
Malaysia is now on its second week of the MCO with more than 2000 confirmed cases.
MCO has been extended to 14 April 2020 to stop the unwarranted spread of the COVID-19 plague and to ensure that Malaysians could be effectively quarantined in their respective homes.
Quite recently, there have been calls that the constitutional monarch should be dissolved as it is no longer relevant and obsolete.
However, it is clear today that if the King was not around, Malaysia would have to struggle with endless political turmoil that may compromise relative peace that all Malaysians have been enjoying since independence.
If the King decided not to resolve the political drama as soon as possible or opted to dissolve the Parliament, general election would then have to take place causing the nation millions of Ringgit to find replacement for the previously failed government that fell before the end of its term.
The general election would then expose all Malaysians to the severe infection of the Wuhan Virus and therefore Malaysia could potentially be the new hot spot for COVID-19 not only in Asia, but the world over.
Alternatively, if the general election is postponed, the Malaysian cabinet would remain vacant causing the nation to weather the COVID -19 storm without an administrating government, though public service would still be functioning.
It is therefore clear that the Malay Constitutional Monarch and the Institution of the Yang Dipertuan Agong play vital role in ensuring that the nation would not fall into anarchy.
The King was really wise in making his choice to clear up the political mess and indeed, a just King gives stability to his nation.
As good citizens, Malaysian have to work hand in hand with the government to wage war against COVID19 and to stop sensationalising ridiculous political issues that may create disunity amongst the people.
This is a war that Malaysia could not afford to lose.
* Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohd Hazmi Mohd Rusli and Dr. Fareed Mohd are lecturers at the Faculty of Syariah and Law, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia.
** The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of Astro AWANI.