KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today baldly accused his successor of lying through his teeth in invoking a nationwide Emergency to counter Malaysia’s Covid-19 health and economic crisis.
Now an Opposition lawmaker, Dr Mahathir said Tan Sri Muhyddin Yassin’s “real reason” in resorting to Emergency rule has been exposed after just 34 days.
“The reason given by him is that the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic requires power under Emergency law is a lie.
“Not a single action taken to fight Covid-19 was one that could only be done under Emergency laws, Instead, all action taken could have been done under ordinary laws,” the Langkawi MP said in a video broadcast on his Facebook page this evening.
Dr Mahathir further claimed that all action taken by Muhyiddin since the Emergency proclamation on January 12 has only been to consolidate his grip on power and enable his Perikatan Nasional (PN) government is unchallenged and unchecked by suspending Parliament.
“Instead, the Emergency laws were there to ensure he remains as the prime minister. This is the real reason Muhyiddin pushed for Emergency to be declared,” the 95-year-old said.
Dr Mahathir also called out the PN administration for failing to manage the nation’s economy, claiming that sovereign debt is now RM1.3 trillion and that Malaysia’s GDP has shrunk 5.6 per cent, the biggest contraction since the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis.
He also pointed to the 760,700 jobless people in the country in the last quarter of 2020.
Dr Mahathir, who is also Pejuang party chairman, accused Muhyiddin of using Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to deflect criticism on the Emergency.
“With the powers under the Emergency, Parliament is suspended to ensure that his position is protected. The government gazette was done using the name of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong so that Muhyiddin is protected.
“Everything is purported to be done under the will of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. This includes maintaining the power of the prime minister and his Cabinet,” said Dr Mahathir.
The Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 gazetted last month empowers the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or anyone authorised by him to take temporary possession of any resource, including land, buildings and moveable property deemed necessary to fight Covid-19.
Those who fail to comply can be punished with a fine of up to RM5 million or imprisonment up to 10 years.
Dr Mahathir said the hefty penalties portrayed the King in a negative light.
“By using the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s name, it depicts the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as a cruel dictator.
“But this law is done by Muhyiddin’s government,” Dr Mahathir said.
He further claimed the PN administration has failed to uphold the rule of law as promised, alleging that criticisms of the government have been disallowed.