Dr Mahathir claims many Malaysians opposed to Emergency rule, but silent due to fear of reprisal

Shahrin Aizat Noorshahrizam
·2-min read
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks to reporters during a press conference at Yayasan Al Bukhary in Kuala Lumpur August 7, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks to reporters during a press conference at Yayasan Al Bukhary in Kuala Lumpur August 7, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25 — Many Malaysians disagree with the government’s recourse to a nationwide Emergency to curb Covid-19, according to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

However, he suggested a current climate of fear in the country, claiming many were reluctant to openly voice their objection or even sign a petition for its withdrawal because they were afraid of government reprisal.

“They said they were afraid because the government is powerful and could do anything to them. A fine of RM5 million and imprisonment for 10 years. Cannot get legal protection.

“I try to make it clear that the government cannot do that. But they feel uneasy.

“Asked to sign a letter of appeal for an emergency to be withdrawn — they refused,” the Langkawi MP wrote on his blog today.

Despite Dr Mahathir’s assertion, several groups, including lawmakers from both sides of the political divide have expressed their opposition to the Emergency proclamation that is to last until August 1 in an effort to reduce the daily four-digit Covid-19 cases crippling the public healthcare system.

Two days ago, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim claimed at least 114 lawmakers are opposed to the Emergency announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on January 12. The PM followed up by suspending Parliament and elections.

In Sarawak, state Cabinet members are considering appealing to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to lift the Emergency order on the state.

Its Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Masing said if the appeal gets a favourable response, Sarawak will be able to hold its 12th state election when the current legislative assembly ends in June.

On January 14, a coalition of 75 Malaysian civil society organisations calling itself the CSO Platform for Reform criticised the Emergency proclamation as an assault on civil liberties.

The group said that the decision is damaging to the nation’s parliamentary democracy and has urged Malaysians to express their discontent by signing an online petition under the hashtag #BantahDaruratMuhyiddin — Malay for “protest Muhyiddin’s emergency”.

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