Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s king declared a state of emergency in the Southeast Asian nation, in a move that could allow the embattled government to delay elections as it tackles the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
“His Royal Majesty has given consent for the declaration of emergency to be carried out as a proactive measure to contain the Covid-19 pandemic,” the palace said in a statement on Tuesday.
The decision comes a day after Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin imposed a two-week targeted lockdown in most of the country starting Wednesday to quell the surge in infections.
Covid-19 cases have exploded in Malaysia after a local election in September, with new infections hitting a record-high last week. The government has forecast daily cases to reach 8,000 by late March or late May, based on a predictive modeling analysis.
The emergency measure will end on August 1, or sooner if the outbreak abates, according to the statement.