Mukhriz casts doubt on Emergency panel’s impartiality, claims line-up favours Perikatan govt

John Bunyan
·3-min read
Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said his party still believed a general election should not happen. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said his party still believed a general election should not happen. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir is sceptical that the Special Independent Emergency Committee 2021 (SIEC) formed to advise the King on when to end Malaysia’s state of Emergency, will be able to act without prejudice.

The Jerlun MP suggested there was an imbalance in the number appointed to the committee, with only three Opposition lawmakers out of the 19 people on board, and insinuated that recommendations to lift the Emergency may be decided on a political basis favouring the ruling Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition rather than the country’s Covid-19 situation.

“We have been hearing rumours that there could be a general election soon and news reports of parties from the other side are ready for GE.

“To have a GE first we need to lift the Emergency and the SIEC members are the ones who will be making the decision on the Emergency. However, there are only three members from the Opposition. We are worried the decision will only be in the interest of a certain party,” he said in a video conference today.

The Opposition lawmaker reiterated his party’s insistence that a general election not be held while the country is still in the grips of the Covid-19 crisis.

“If want to change the government, they can hand it over to the ones who have the sufficient majority without having an election,” he said, without specifying anyone.

Muhkriz said the Sabah state election last September had been a “mistake” that should not be replicated, blaming the event for the swell in Covid-19 cases nationwide.

“Unless the SIEC comes up with proper facts and details which ensure that people are free of Covid-19 threat then the Emergency can be lifted. But it should not be lifted merely to hold a GE,” he said, without elaborating on what he considered to be factual.

Last week, the government announced the 19 members of the SIEC that will advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong when it would be feasible to lift the Emergency, or if it will be ahead of its scheduled end on August 1.

The members are an eclectic group spanning aspects of Malaysian life such as law, security, politics, healthcare, trade, and academia.

Muhkriz also claimed today that the Emergency has not reduced the number of Covid-19 cases in the past one month since its implementation.

“We have been getting daily Covid-19 cases up to 5,000 even after the Emergency in place. Also the implementation of the Emergency was not tabled in the Parliament.

“By right it should be done according to the Article 150 (3) of the Federal Constitution which says that any declaration on Emergency has to be tabled in the Parliament and suspension of Parliament session should also be tabled,” he said.

However, Malaysia’s new Covid-19 infections logged just 2,176 cases today—the country’s lowest since January 2. The number of recoveries were also more than double the number of infections, though the daily death count remained in the double digits.

In his press conference, Mukhriz also said Pejuang has resubmitted its application to be registered as a political party and does not foresee any more problems in gaining approval from the Registrar of Societies (RoS).

“Initially, we have been told to amend some of the party’s policies and we have fulfilled all the rules and requirements. There should not be any problems now,” he said.

Asked if he had alternatives if Pejuang failed to pass the RoS’ muster, he said: “We have other options, but we can’t reveal it at the moment. One thing for sure our candidates will not contest as independent”.

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