KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 — Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today Pakatan Harapan and several government federal lawmakers have submitted a letter appealing for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to rescind his Proclamation of Emergency.
The PKR president alleged that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin wrongly advised the Agong on the matter, and suggested that this could have been motivated by a desire to remain in power despite losing majority support in Parliament.
The letter, which also appealed for the Agong to allow Parliament to convene should the Agong insist on Emergency rule, was submitted yesterday, said Anwar, who is member of parliament for Port Dickson.
“We are not protesting, but appealing to His Royal Highness’ wisdom and hope that he would reassess and reconsider the reasons (to declare Emergency) that were given by the prime minister which are unreasonable,” Anwar said at an online press conference today.
Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah assented to the Emergency on January 11 on the advice of the prime minister, who announced the matter in a special address the next day.
Muhyiddin justified the Emergency as necessary to rein in the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Muhyiddin government later suspended all federal and state legislatures as well as elections in an Emergency Ordinance gazetted on January 13.
His critics accused the embattled prime minister of seeking the Emergency to stay in power after he lost majority support in the Lower House.
Today, Anwar claimed the Emergency will also shield Muhyiddin from criticism against his government’s inability to contain a ravaging outbreak, citing the continued surge in new Covid-19 cases.
The Opposition leader also accused the government of incompetence, which he said has deterred investments and sparked capital flight from the country.
“That is why we would like to appeal to the Agong to consider the points we have raised but should (the Agong) wish not to then we appeal that at least Parliament should be allowed to convene,” Anwar said.
Anwar argued that Article 153 of the Federal Constitution allowed for Parliament to proceed even under Emergency rule, and that suspending the legislatures was purely a way for Muhyiddin to circumvent the growing protest against his government.
“Why allow the rest to operate as usual but not Parliament?” The PKR leader asked
“That shows this government is incapable and lacks the calibre to rebut or face the counterpoints. And the danger in this is that they would be given the power to do anything they want.