The Four Other Times A State Of Emergency Was Declared In Malaysia

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The Four Other Times A State Of Emergency Was Declared In Malaysia
It has been done. 

The King has proclaimed a state of emergency nationwide today (12 January) which will go on until the 1 August to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Emergency declared.
While the current state of emergency is meant to prevent unnecessary politicking, including forcing a General Election and making things worse for the country COVID-19-wise, this is not the first time we've taken such drastic measures. 

In fact, there have been four other times that a state of emergency was declared in Malaysia. 

1# The Indonesia - Malaysia Confrontation

When did it happen: 1964
The first state of emergency was declared on the 3 September 1964 during the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation.

The confrontation, also known as the Borneo confrontation, was an undeclared war between Indonesia and Malaysia from 1963 to 1966 due to Indonesia opposing the creation of Malaysia.

In the jungles of Borneo.
The emergency was declared after the then Indonesian President Sukarno announced a campaign to ‘Crush Malaysia’, accusing the country of being a neocolonialist creation.

Apa itu neocololonilist, we hear you asking?

Well, neocolonialism is the practice of using economics, globalisation, cultural imperialism and conditional aid to influence a country instead of traditional colonial methods of direct military control or indirect political control. 

So, they were basically accusing Malaysia of being brainwashed puppets to our British colonisers at the time lah.

The Indonesian-Malaysia Confrontation ended in 1966 with the fall from power of Sukarno in 1966.

Sources: The National Army Museum, Wikipedia, MIT Libraries

2# The Sarawak Emergency

When did it happen: 1966
It's safe to say that the 1960s were a pretty busy decade for our government, as the second emergency proclamation was declared albeit a politically-related one. 

It was linked to the 1966 Sarawak constitutional crisis, which spanned from 1965 to 1966. 

The crisis began with a group of politicians who were dissatisfied with the leadership of the then Sarawak chief minister Stephen Kalong Ningkan.

Problems with Ningkan.
On 16 June 1966, 21 out of the 42 state legislature members said that they had no confidence in Ningkan's leadership. 

Ningkan, however, refused to resign from cabinet, saying that the letter claiming that he did not have the support of the majority was not accompanied with a formal motion of no confidence against him. 

The Sarawak governer, Abang Haji Openg then declared that Ningkan was no longer chief minister and went ahead and appointed Tawi Sli as the new chief minister instead. 

A new chief minister declared.
Drama, kan?

A furious Ningkan then brought the matter to the Kuching High Court and the court ruled in his favour. Ningkan was later reinstated as chief minister. 

The drama didn't end there, though, because this was when the Sarawak Emergency took place.

Fighting to stay in power.
On 14 September 1966, the federal government (obviously not Ningkan supporters) announced a state of emergency limited to Sarawak on the grounds that “a serious situation which poses a grave threat not only to the security of the State of Sarawak but also to the whole country" had arisen.

Ningkan was removed once again. 

He brought the matter to court for the second time but this time, he lost.

Sources: Hornbill Unleashed, Green LeftWikipedia,

#3 The May 13 Riots

When did it happen: 1969
The third time an emergency was declared was following the 13 May racial riots in 1969. 

The riots accured following the 1969 general election, which saw opposition parties winning more seats.

Violence and mayhem.

It was mostly members from the Chinese community that were killed.
Dissatisfied with the outcome, violent racial clashes broke out in Kuala Lumpur, and on 15 May, the King declared a state of emergency meant to prevent the clashes from spreading to the rest of the country.

The Parliament was suspended and the National Operation Council was established to helm the country as a catetaker government.

The NOC governed from 1969 to 1971. The Parliament was finally restored then.

Sources: Crikey, Malaysiakini, Wikipedia, Free Malaysia Today, Sinar Harian

4# The 1977 Kelantan Emergency

Accused of not following party instructions.
When did it happen: 1977
The fourth emergency was declared during a political crisis in Kelantan.

The Kelantan Emergency stemmed from a political power struggle between political parties UMNO and PAS.

It all started when the then-Kelantan Menteri Besar Mohamed Nasir from PAS started feeling dissatisfied with his party after members accused him of going against party instructions.

Dissatisfied with his leadership, a motion of no confidence was tabled and this was supported by 20 of his own PAS assemblyman. 13 UMNO assemblyman, however, walked out in protest of the motion.

Walking out in protest of the motion.
Despite having 20 votes against him, Mohamad Nasir refused to resign.

He instead went to the Regent of Kelantan asking that the state assembly to be dissolved but his request was turned down. 

Angered by this, his supporters demonstrated in the streets, resulting in violence.

This was when an emergency was declared by the King.

Protestors taking to the streets.
The Emergency Powers (Kelantan) Act 1977 was also proposed during that period, giving the federal government power to rule over the state. 

Despite being members of the Barisan Nasional coalition, 12 out of the 14 PAS MPs at the time opposed the passing of the act. 

This eventually lead to PAS being expelled from the Barisan Nasional coalition.

During the emergency, Mohamad Nasir was retained as Mentri Besar but his powers were limited under the Emergency Powers (Kelantan) Act 1977. Under the act, the ultimate executive power was held by the Prime Minister.

The police and army were summoned to control the situation.
Mohamad Nasir eventually formed his own party called BERJASA and contended in the March 1978 Kelantan state election.

In that election, UMNO won 23 seats, BERJASA won 11 and PAS won two seats, which led to UMNO forming the state government for the very first time.

Sources: The Malaysian Bar, JStor, Albangi's Blog, Orangkata.myWikipedia

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