PETALING JAYA,Feb 4: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and four other Pejuang leaders have written to the Conference of Rulers to appeal to them to reconsider their support for the current state of emergency.
In the letter dated Jan 25, they said the emergency has left the economy in bad shape, with major manufacturers closing their factories and some companies relocating elsewhere.
The leaders also said the general population were afraid of the powers by the government under emergency rule, such as fines of RM5 million and 10 years’ jail without an avenue to appeal to court.
They said an emergency was not needed because there were adequate laws to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, adding the move should have been debated in Parliament first.
“But this was not done as the Parliament is not permitted to convene. Now the question arises if this proclamation is legal,” the letter read.
The Pejuang leaders said that during the 1969 emergency, a special sitting was held in Parliament where the MPs had discussed matters related to the emergency, including the setting up of the National Operations Council or Majlis Gerakan Negara.
They said the Economic Action Council (MTEN) and the special Covid-19 experts task force needed to meet urgently to discuss issues linked to the economy and the pandemic.
“The members of the MTEN can take a closer look at the country’s economic situation and they should meet often to ensure that issues are settled quickly.
“This is what was done during the 1997/1998 financial crisis, and the MTEN was operational until the crisis was successfully resolved,” they said.
In making their argument for the emergency declaration to be rescinded, they said Malaysians had never objected to measures to combat Covid-19, while private hospitals were even willing to help if needed.
“Hence, the harshness of the emergency laws is not needed. We plead to Duli Tuanku to withdraw support for the emergency proclamation,” they said.
The letter was signed by Mahathir, Jerlun MP Mukhriz Mahathir, Kubang Pasu MP Amiruddin Hamzah, Sri Gading MP Shahruddin Md Salleh and senator Marzuki Yahya.
Marzuki confirmed with FMT that the letter was sent to the Conference of Rulers for their attention.