Dr M: People fear speaking up on emergency

by AFIQ AZIZ / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

MALAYSIANS do not welcome the emergency proclamation, but they do not dare to speak up out of fear of being punished, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) said.

In a blog post yesterday, the former prime minister said he had spoken to many parties who thought the emergency was unnecessary, citing various reasons.

“I tried to explain what the government could not do but they looked scared. They lowered their voices while looking around. They also told me not to let anyone know of their opinions,” the Langkawi lawmaker said.

Despite clarifying that the government could not abuse its power, Dr Mahathir said those he spoke to still felt uneasy. He also said some parties turned down his request to appeal to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to withdraw the emergency order.

“They were asked to sign an appeal letter for the emergency to be withdrawn, but they refused,” Dr Mahathir added.

Dr Mahathir’s latest statement is believed to be referring to an appeal letter to the King by the MPs to request for emergency withdrawal.

Previously, Dr Mahathir stated that Malaysia should not be placed under the emergency as the government has sufficient power to curb Covid-19 spread.

He said the government can handle the Covid-19 crisis by enforcing the Movement Control Order and relevant laws in place.

Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal reportedly said the eight parliamentarians from the party have written to appeal to the King over the emergency order.

“We are not demanding but only appealing to the King because we submit to whatever decision made.

“But I don’t think it’s the right time (to have a state of emergency),” Shafie was quoted as saying in a report by Free Malaysia Today.

Last week, the Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said up to 115 MPs objected to the emergency.

He also said the Opposition had requested Al-Sultan Abdullah to reconsider the need to continue with the emergency, and call for Parliament to convene on Jan 31 to discuss the proclamation and the pandemic.

“There are now 114, 115 MPs who reject the Perikatan Nasional (PN) or (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin (Yassin) government’s proposal. This cannot be denied. Is that number enough? It is more than enough.

“The most important thing is that the majority of MPs reject the PN government’s views on the emergency,” he said during a dialogue session with the National Professors Council.

According to Anwar, there may be only a maximum of 90 MPs who support the emergency as Gabungan Parti Sarawak, which has 18 seats, reportedly opposed the proclamation.

Anwar had previously appealed to lawmakers to write to the King seeking that the emergency declaration be rescinded.

Similarly, Umno launched a similar effort internally but it did not receive the full backing of its MPs.


Read our earlier report

People fear to disagree on the Emergency: Dr M