Amid speculations that the government is planning to call for a state of emergency, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim yesterday criticised the Perikatan Nasional government and advised Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin not to resort to such "undemocratic" and "authoritarian" means.
Following this, a cabinet minister today came to Muhyiddin's defence, saying that Anwar's statement was made under his own assumption of what the government would do.
Annuar Musa, who is the federal territories minister, also lambasted the PKR president, whom he said should realise that he also has a part in the problem.
"I think Anwar has to accept the fact that he himself has a role in triggering the critical situation today.
"(This started) when he tried to convince the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that he has the numbers (to form a new government) by presenting some documents, which he claimed would show that he has convincing support (from MPs).
"However, after much waiting, he did not even submit a single name when he had an audience with the king," Annuar said to reporters at a government programme in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur this morning.
He was referring to Anwar's meeting with Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah on Oct 13. The opposition chief had claimed that he had the support of more than 120 MPs and had presented evidence of this to the Agong.
However, the palace had later on the same day stated that Anwar did not furnish the names of the MPs who were supporting him during his audience with the king.
Speculation on state of emergency
A special cabinet meeting held by Muhyiddin and his audience with the king yesterday had sparked strong speculations that the government wants to declare a state of emergency.
This was confirmed by a minister, who spoke to Malaysiakini on condition of anonymity yesterday, saying that the cabinet had made the decision to implement "emergency".
This had since drawn heavy criticisms against the government, including Muhyiddin who is alleged of trying to save his position in Putrajaya.
Commenting on this, Annuar, who is BN secretary-general, urged the people not to jump to conclusions when the government has not even made any announcement or decision yet.
"If the government has not made any move but is already being punished, being accused of wanting to become dictator, that the prime minister just wants to save himself... I think this is unfair.
"Even if it happens, the government would not announce it just with one sentence notice. It won't be like that.
"There will surely be an explanation. What is the emergency for, in what form it would be, whether there will be a curfew, or whether the military would be in charge, or the PM is going to be a dictator?
"All of these must be explained. Because emergencies have many forms," he said.
Annuar also urged Anwar to refer to Article 150 of the Federal Constitution, which he said stipulates all the forms of an emergency situation.
He said 32 other countries have already declared a state of emergency, but Malaysia has yet to follow suit as the government believes they can still address the pandemic through the normal way.
"Even then, I am not saying that the government is going to declare a state of emergency. Even as a cabinet minister, who is involved in many discussions, I can say that as far as there is no announcement, it is premature for us to make any judgement (on the government)."