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What does the Darurat mean?

by Grace Sundram

Now that the state of emergency has been declared in Malaysia, this puts Malaysia’s Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) the power to enact laws. For the unfamiliar, an emergency can only be declared if the security or economic life of the Federation or any part thereof is threatened.

If the YDPA is convinced that the nation is in danger, he has the rights to pull the plug and declare an emergency, with or without the advice of the Prime Minister and the members of the Cabinet.


The Proclamation of Emergency has only been declared five times and that includes the time in 1969 following the ‘May 13’ race riot.

At this point, the emergency declaration was to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Laws can be passed without going through a legislative process

During a darurat or emergency, the YDPA is given powers to exercise complete control over the nation including enforcing laws that fall under Emergency Ordinances (EOs). It is no longer necessary to go through the whole process of getting bills drafted, having a debate and voting session in the Parliament to get a law passed for the time being.


An EO also can’t be challenged by the courts and is powerful to even overrule the Federal Constitution.

However, ordinances cannot touch on matters of the rights and traditions of Muslims, the Malays or the customs of Sabah and Sarawak. To be able to do so, it would need the approval from the Federal Government, without the need of a Parliamentary vote to get these certain laws passed.

On another note, during the live announcement made by the Prime Minister, he stated that this emergency declaration is not a military coup nor would curfews be enforced. The civilian government will continue to function.

No General Elections, State Elections and By-Elections are allowed to take place throughout the state of emergency.


There are many reasons why the nation is facing the darurat right now but one of the main points is to put a halt on the elections.

“I do not intend not to hold an election. The main thing hindering me from advising the Agong to dissolve Parliament and to call for a snap election is the pandemic,” said Muhyiddin.

If you want to get into more details, check this out.

Pictures by Ifex, iStock, MCI & Malay Mail

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