Dr M willing to resign from Pejuang post for NRC approval

The NRC will be a genuine apolitical body that will be focusing on Covid-19 crisis


FORMER Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) said he is willing to resign from being the chairman of the newly registered Parti Pejuang Tanah Air, in pushing for Yang di-Pertuan Agong to approve the National Recovery Council (NRC).

The NRC was also brought forward to Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah in a meeting on June 10, will be a genuine apolitical body that will be focusing on Covid-19 crisis.

Dr Mahathir said such a motion can be decided by Sultan Abdullah while the emergency proclamation is still in force, without having to rely on the advice of PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said in normal circumstances, the King does not appoint or establish such a body, unless on the advice from the PM.

“But under the emergency, Agong has special power, which according to the ordinance — Agong has many rights and power to do or even instruct anybody to do (any action) because the situation is not a normal situation, but it is an emergency situation,” Dr Mahathir said in a virtual press conference yesterday.

The emergency, requested by Muhyiddin and granted by Sultan Abdullah, was proclaimed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. It came to force Jan 12 and will end on Aug 1.

However, the proclamation did not produce desirable results, as the number of Covid-19 cases jumped from only around 2,000 in January to more than 13,000 cases yesterday, and the public is still facing a lockdown period.

Five days after Dr Mahathir revealed the NRC in June, Muhyiddin’s government unveiled the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

The four-phase exit plan is led by Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz as its coordinating minister which would see all economic sectors reopening by December and the Parliament reconvening as early as September as Covid-19.

Dr Mahathir, however, argued that the government-led council would not be practical because it cannot avoid political influences in the decision making.

“So, our proposal was to establish NRC, which can be formed during the emergency if it is proposed, approved or instructed by the Agong.

“This body, with its supreme power to execute the recovery plan, will not be influenced by any political parties or personnel linked to any political party.

“We can take actions with the help of appointed professionals to reduce the daily cases,” said the former medical practitioner.

“In fact, if I get to lead the council that we propose, I am willing to resign from my chairman post as I do not want any conflict of interest arises,” he said, stating that by holding onto the political post would oppress the council members.

“We want to just focus on managing the pandemic, without any political intention at all,” said the Langkawi MP.

Besides, Dr Mahathir said the new NRC would take more decisive and stern actions in the execution to ensure its success.

Dr Mahathir, however, has not revealed any potential candidate or the size of the NRC, stating that a simple budget would be needed to move the plan.

“The government, and Parliament, can function as it is,” he added.

On Parliament sitting which would resume ahead of the due date of the emergency on July 26, Dr Mahathir claimed that it is merely a show by the administration to demonstrate their obedience to the King.

Due to this, he said Pejuang is yet to determine if all of its four MPs would attend the session.

On the same development, Dr Mahathir said Tengku Zafrul, who met him on Monday at the former PM residence had sought advice on NRP.

“He wanted to know what was in my mind when I proposed the NRC so I told him my ideas, if he can implement,” Dr Mahathir said, adding that there is no invitation made by Tengku Zafrul for him to join the council.