Finally Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir spoke out after having been for many days hesitating to comment on the Proclamation of a State of Emergency.
He said he did not want to comment because he was afraid people might think he is aiming to become Prime Minister again.
The following is his long statement that he posted in his Facebook today:
” I find that doctors and lawyers are now commenting adversely on the promulgation of a state of emergency due to COVID-19, and also on the management of the pandemic, and so I feel I have a right to comment.
My view is that emergency powers are not necessary in dealing with the pandemic. The Government has ample power and Malaysians have obeyed whatever orders or directives issued by the Government in dealing with COVID-19. They raise no objection. We are not like liberal western countries where the people openly disobeyed Government directives claiming that their rights and freedoms have been ignored.
But the Proclamation of a State of Emergency removes the last vestige of democratic rights of the people. It is worthwhile to note: –
This Government is not the Government they elected. It is a back door Government.
ii. This Government has now lost its majority and therefore the right to rule.
iii. Through the proclamation this minority Government has now gained absolute power to rule.
This is enunciated in article 11 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 which reads:-
“For so long as the emergency is in force –
a) the Prime Minister and the Cabinet existing immediately prior to the issuance of the Proclamation of Emergency on 11 January 2021 who have been conferred the executive functions shall continue to exercise the executive authority of the Federation and such other persons who have been conferred the executive functions by law shall continue to exercise such functions; additionally in para (4) of 12.
For the avoidance of doubt, for so long as the emergency is in force, Clause (3) of Article 55 of the Federal Constitution shall have effect as if the words “for five years from the date of its first meeting and shall then stand dissolved” have been deleted.
(1) For so long as the emergency is in force –
(a) the provisions relating to the summoning, proroguing and dissolution of Parliament in the Federal Constitution shall not have effect; and
(2) Any Meeting of the Parliament which has been summoned before the coming into operation of this Ordinance but has not been held is cancelled.
Clearly with the Proclamation of a State of Emergency the Parliament elected by the people has lost its role in the governance of this country. The Prime Minister now has full authority to rule the country on his own.
The excuse for this seizure of power is said to be the massive increase in the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is there that the Prime Minister with his absolute power can do to solve this health crisis? One has to remember that its was his decision to seize power in Sabah that was followed with the four digit increase in the number of new cases. Before that the new cases had dwindled to single digit.
The best brains in the world are finding it difficult to stem the numbers of new cases. Can the Prime Minister with his power to jail people for up to 10 years and impose a fine of five million Ringgit reduce the number of cases.
We appreciate the work of the Director – General of Health for his management of the pandemic. But now the numbers are very big.
The problems are not the same. The frontline workers who dealt with the first phase have now to deal with thousands more cases daily. Still the COVID-19 numbers are increasing. Positive cases cannot be admitted, increasing their exposure to members of their families and others.
The workers, foreign and local, are posing massive problems as they stay in crowded rooms and cannot maintain social spacing when working.
Total lockdown cannot be imposed as the economy would be affected and poor people cannot earn money to buy food even.
The problem caused by the pandemic are very many and do not lead to easy solutions. Can the enhanced power of the Prime Minister tackle these problems?
What kind of advise can he give to the King that will reduce the numbers of those getting infected, those having to be hospitalised, those who will die.
But the declaration of emergency has given the Government tremendous powers.
Everything that is done is in the name of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. They cannot be questioned. Nor can they be brought before Parliament as all sittings have been cancelled.
Effectively the rule of law has been abolished. We are assured that the intention is good. But when absolute authority is given, breaches and abuses will happen.”