Malaysia: COVID-19 - Declaration of Emergency

In brief

In response to the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong ("YDPA") issued a Proclamation of Emergency ("POE") under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution on 12 January 2021, thereby declaring the existence of an emergency ("Emergency"). 

The said POE will be in force until 1 August 2021, or such earlier date where the number of COVID-19 cases can be effectively controlled and reduced.


Recommended actions

Shortly after the issuance of the POE, the Prime Minister had by an address on 12 January 2021 advised, amongst others, that the civilian government including the judiciary will continue to function and that a curfew will not be enforced.  

As such, the current Emergency is not likely to have any significant impact on businesses and continued commercial operations.  The current Emergency primarily impacts the legislative and executive powers of the Houses of Parliament.

It will be prudent for businesses to continue to monitor promulgation of laws by YDPA.

In more detail


Under the Malaysian Federal Constitution, a POE may be issued if the YDPA (on advice of the Cabinet or a Minister acting under the authority of the Cabinet) is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby the security, economic life, of public order of Malaysia (or part thereof) is threatened.

Legal effect

There are three main impact while a POE is in force:

  1. the YDPA may promulgate ordinances (which shall have the same force and effect as an act of Parliament), except where both Houses of Parliament are sitting concurrently.  

The power to promulgate ordinances may be exercised in relation to any matter with respect to which Parliament has power to make laws; 

  1. any such ordinance as promulgated shall not be invalid on the ground of inconsistency with any provision of the Federal Constitution; and
  2. the executive authority of the Federal Government shall extend to any matter within the legislative authority of State Governments and to the giving of directions to the State Governments or to any officer or authority thereof. 

Chinese version

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