Pejuang MPs will walk out of Dewan Rakyat if special sitting next week is just a briefing, says Dr Mahathir

Pejuang chairman Tun Mahathir Mohamad speaks to the media during a press conference at Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya January 7, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Pejuang chairman Tun Mahathir Mohamad speaks to the media during a press conference at Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya January 7, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — Lawmakers from Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) will walk out of the Dewan Rakyat sitting on July 26 if it turns out to be nothing more than a briefing by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

Its chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said his party would like to give the government the benefit of the doubt first and see what topics are brought to the table.

“We have decided to attend, at least at the beginning. If we find that it’s just a briefing, we may decide to go out.

“Are they deciding to talk about the people or legitimising what they have done? Like the Darurat, it was not legitimate as the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara were not consulted,” he said in a news conference after Pejuang’s central leadership meeting today.

Dr Mahathir was referring to the Emergency by its Malay name.

He insisted that the Emergency — declared in January and which is set to expire on August 1 — is not legitimate because the due process of law was not followed before its proclamation.

The Dewan Rakyat is scheduled to sit from next Monday until July 29 and will continue on August 2 while the Dewan Negara will sit from August 3 to 5.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun has said this first sitting for the year is not the regular session but a “special sitting”. He added that the regular session will convene only in September.

The Prime Minister’s Office said in a July 5 statement that the special sitting is intended to provide explanations to MPs about the National Recovery Plan and to amend all the necessary laws and rules to enable hybrid Parliament sittings, and with the proclamations of Emergency and Emergency ordinances to be laid before Parliament.

Dr Mahathir also took another swipe at the PN government, claiming the National Rehabilitation Council headed by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to be a “copycat” of Pejuang’s prior suggestion to deal with Malaysia’s Covid-19 crisis.

He accused Muhyiddin of trying to claim credit and demanded that his original idea for the council to be reinstated and composed of people who are not politicians.

“I still think that if this council that I am proposing is held, composed of people who are not politicians, we can find a way to reduce the number of daily cases.

“Their imitation did not bring any results,” Dr Mahathir said.

He said Malaysia’s Covid-19 surge is developing and needs expert advice to effectively address the heart of the crisis but that the government was not focused on this.

Dr Mahathir’s son and Pejuang president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir also criticised the council and predicted that it was headed for failure.

Dr Mahathir mooted a national recovery council consisting of experts on health, virus, economy, psychiatry, sociology and others who can actually reduce the infection rates of Covid-19 and aid those who are impacted by it.

He suggested it be given power to deal with the impact of the pandemic and even offered to quit Pejuang if he was appointed to sit on it.

Last week, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz announced the creation of the National Rehabilitation Council, of which he was appointed its coordinating minister.

Tengku Zafrul said the council is tasked to ensure the smooth implementation of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) and strengthen the government’s strategy in fighting the spread of Covid-19.

Tengku Zafrul said the NRP would be tabled in Parliament on July 26.  

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