Dr M, ex-ministers disagree with Emergency decision

PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic) says any decision to declare a state of emergency in the country will only be for political reasons.

“Faced with the possibility of being overthrown, the Prime Minister wants the powers under a state of emergency.

“The only benefit would accrue to the Prime Minister, as Parliament would be paralysed.

“An Emergency would give extra power to the Prime Minister, ” the former prime minister said in a blog post yesterday.

Dr Mahathir, who is the Parti Pejuang Tanah Air chairman, said the Covid-19 pandemic had been used to justify Parliament being delayed, shortened and void of debate.

“Now it is to justify declaring a state of emergency. But the power and authority in today’s government have been adequate to deal with the pandemic.

“What can (a state of) emergency do to stop the pandemic more than what we can do now? Nothing, ” he wrote.

He said the speculation had created ripples in the national economy, with the stock market being hard hit.

Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said a state of emergency might be “the final nail in the coffin” for the economy.

“If the Prime Minister was to get his way in imposing the proposed state of emergency, as an economist myself and being a former finance minister and former international trade and industry minister, I can say with some certainty that it may be the final nail in the coffin of our already battered economy, ” he said in a statement.

Tengku Razaleigh said he was not questioning the right of the Prime Minister to seek a declaration for a state of emergency from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong but rather the basis, rationale, timing and the real motive for it.

“We are having a public healthcare crisis that is severely impacting the livelihood and economy of our people, and the government may not be managing the crisis in the best interest of the public.

“The public and politicians across the divide, except for a few recalcitrants, are cooperating with the government on the measures and SOP.

“I cannot see any honest basis for such a request.

“I can only suspect non-honourable motives behind it, ” Tengku Razaleigh said.

Former minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz described the government’s intention to declare a state of emergency as “putting politics before principles, ethics and national interest”.

“Already the economic and socio-economic impact on the people and nation is continuing to drain us all of our resilience and confidence.

“But to declare an Emergency, impacting Parliament, the democratic processes and dispensing with democratic norms – that is too much, ” she said in a Facebook post yesterday.

Former attorney general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas said a proclamation of a state of emergency to handle the Covid-19 pandemic would be unconstitutional.

“Covid-19 has been with us since January. On a relative and comparative scale, Malaysia has handled the pandemic well.

“The government cannot then claim that overnight, Covid-19 has became so ‘threatening’ that we have a grave emergency, ” he said in a statement.

Thomas said it was impossible for the Prime Minister to argue that national security was in any way affected by whether he continued to be in office.

“Likewise, public order. That leaves economic life. This precondition has no application. In these circumstances, there are no legal grounds for the proclamation of Emergency in Malaysia today, ” he added.

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