Dr Mahathir asks Agong to intervene in Covid-19 battle

Former PM with several MPs had sought a meeting with Sultan Abdullah to table a proposal to call off the Emergency

by AFIQ AZIZ / pic by TMR FILE

FORMER Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) has asked Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to intervene with the way the country is handling Covid-19, which he said is not giving people the desired results.

In a virtual press conference yesterday, the two-time PM said through a letter sent on May 31, he appealed to the King to listen to the people’s grouses regarding the pandemic.

For instance, Dr Mahathir said the proclamation of Emergency granted by Sultan Abdullah on Jan 12, has been proven ineffective in curbing Covid-19 infections, as cases have quadrupled to surpass 9,000 daily cases.

With the Parliament and State Assembly on pause, Dr Mahathir with several MPs had sought a meeting with Sultan Abdullah to table a proposal to call off the Emergency, thus allowing Parliament to discuss the best way to fight Covid-19.

“When the people are frustrated, as they are not receiving the treatment they deserve from the government, they turn to the rulers to help them.

“If not the rulers and the government, from whom do they seek help?” said Dr Mahathir.

On April 20, Dr Mahathir and Shah Alam MP Khalid Abdul Samad, who is the chairperson for the Committee to End Emergency, sent their memorandum to the Palace and sought an appointment with Sultan Abdullah.

Two days later, they said the King had agreed to meet the committee members, citing a letter replied by the Palace.

However, Dr Mahathir said no confirmation has been received from the Palace on the meeting date.

“I have also written a letter to the Agong asking him to intervene and solve our problems but I have yet to receive any reply.

“That is all we can do for now,” said Dr Mahathir.

The Langkawi MP proposed to the government that a public kitchen must be established to help the poor obtain food during the Movement Control Order 3.0 period.

“People have no jobs when there is a lockdown, so there is no food on the table. We can use the kitchens at the hotels or restaurants for them to cook in bulk and send the food to the affected households using ride hailing services.

“We cannot let them gather at the kitchen or distribution centre as it will be hard to observe physical distances,” he said.

Dr Mahathir added that the government claimed to have spent RM600 billion, but the people cannot see where the money went.

“It is not easy to just spend such a huge sum of money in a short period,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir also urged Putrajaya to monitor the price of Covid-19 test screening by the private healthcare providers, to ensure that no parties are profiteering from the service.

“Surely, they are charging some fee because private clinics or hospitals need to purchase the equipment, but the government must take note of how much they are making.

“We are facing a national problem, not a business problem or a party problem. If we do not work together to fight this disease, everybody will lose, including the businesses,” Dr Mahathir added.

In another development, the Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (PEJUANG) pro-tem chairman said the party will remain neutral and are not planning to join or work with Perikatan Nasional or Pakatan Harapan (PH) in the next general election.

“We want to be a third force and work with some parties that carry the same agenda to fight corruption, only for that purpose,” he said.

Among the parties that PEJUANG would tie up with are Parti Warisan Sabah and the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance.

He said PEJUANG would have to carry some baggage if it joins PH, as the component parties have also attracted some uneasiness among other coalitions.

However, Dr Mahathir stressed that the party has not decided on whom he will work with.

The calls, he said, will be made at the very last minute when the election is called.