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A group of parliamentarians in Southeast Asia is warning regional governments against using the outbreak as an excuse to assert their power, crackdowns on critics and undermining institutions.

In a statement, the Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights noted that the Philippines and Thailand had declared states of emergency while Cambodia was expected to do so soon.

Malaysian parliamentarian Charles Santiago, who chairs the group, said attempts to grab more power were “appalling”.

“While these are extraordinary times that may require extraordinary measures, we must guard against the authoritarian turn of some governments’ responses to COVID-19 or the next casualty could be our rights and democracies,” he said. 

Al Jazeera News

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