KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 5 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said an alternative national recovery council convened for the first time today to discuss Malaysia’s Covid-19 situation.
Dr Mahathir said he met virtually with the 18 members who included Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said as well as several members of the so-called Council of Eminent Persons that he formed after Pakatan Harapan won the 2018 general election.
According to photographs posted on Dr Mahathir’s Facebook page, the meeting also featured Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah but who was not listed as a member.
The former PM said he and the others on the council were compelled to act as it would be irresponsible to stand idly by while the country’s Covid-19 situation deteriorated, as evidenced by today’s record high number of new cases.
“Today I met virtually with 18 figures and experts in the field of health, economy, law and politics whom I previously proposed to be members of the National Recovery Council.
“I believe they agreed to participate as they also feel it necessary to do something to help the country during this disaster,” he said.
Dr Mahathir reiterated that the council would be apolitical as its purpose was solely to develop proposals and solutions to the pandemic.
This approach would be more productive than continuing to criticise the government, he explained.
The group assembled possessed a wealth of knowledge and experience that could be useful to the government, he added.
“If our efforts are able to help Malaysians and the country, this means we have performed our responsibility as citizens of Malaysia.”
Dr Mahathir first mooted a national recovery council after his suggestion to form a National Operations Council (Mageran) invited suspicions that it would be used to usurp the government’s powers.
Last month, the federal government announced the formation of the National Recovery Council, with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as its chairman, to oversee the implementation of the National Recovery Plan.
Dr Mahathir previously rejected the government’s council, saying it was akin to asking the problem to be its own solution.
Aside from Azalina, other members of Dr Mahathir’s council include Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Dr Jomo K Sundaram, Tan Sri Lin See Yan, former Danaharta chief Tan Sri Azman Yahya, and former Petronas chief Tan Sri Hassan Marican.
Also included were Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman, Datuk Lam Sai Kit, Datuk Dr Amar Singh HSS, Tan Sri Dr Abu Bakar Suleiman, Dr Kumitaa Theva Das, Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim, Datuk Shad Saleem Faruqi, Datuk Salleh Buang, Samuel Isaiah, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil, Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, and Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh.
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