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todayonline - 19 days ago

Malay anger mounting over emergency, says Mahathir at Istana protest

KUALA LUMPUR — The Malays are angry with the Malaysian king for declaring the emergency ordinance that has affected people’s lives, said Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who joined a demonstration outside the palace on Tuesday (April 20) to demand the emergency be lifted. The nonagenarian two-time prime minister said that the Malays don’t usually resent the royalty. However, the emergency declared by the Malaysian king, Yang di-Pertuan Agong, in response to the government’s request purportedly to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, has angered people because of the suffering it has brought. “We now have seen the sentiments of the Malay people and (on Tuesday) have sent (a memorandum) to the Agong’s senior private secretary, because the Malays are starting to get angry with the Agong. “We can see this on social media. This is very unusual, for the Malays to get angry with the ruler. “It’s quite clear that a lot of Malays are now angry and suffering because of the emergency. Not all Malays, but quite a considerable number are angry with the Agong,” Dr Mahathir told reporters outside the Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur. He was there to lend support to the Committee for the Cessation of State of Emergency, a grouping of opposition parliamentarians, who are seeking an audience with the King to discuss an end to the emergency and restoration of parliament sittings. Dr Mahathir on Tuesday accompanied committee chairman Khalid Samad, and also Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, in handing over the memorandum. The emergency took effect on Jan 11 and is to last until Aug 1 at the latest. The government has said it is necessary to stem the rising number of Covid-19 infections. Dr Mahathir’s reference to social media comes as Malaysian Twitter users are posting their feelings about the emergency and the royalty using the hashtag #DengkiKe, following an online report that members of the palace had allegedly been vaccinated out of queue under the different phases of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme. The report, by Asia Sentinel, has been denied by health minister Adham Baba, although the palace has yet to publicly respond to it. #DengkiKe, is still the top hashtag on Twitter in Malaysia with 79,200 tweets at press time. The phrase, which roughly means, “Are you envious?”, was used by the queen, Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah, on her Instagram account on Monday in response to a user who asked if chefs working at the palace had also been vaccinated. Dr Mahathir on Tuesday said the government may not be giving the king enough information on the necessity of an emergency. “Everything (about the emergency) was put on the Agong’s shoulders (to bear) as though the orders came from his Majesty. “That could be why the rakyat (people) are uneasy with the situation (emergency).” Mr Khalid, meanwhile, said that this is the second time the committee has requested an audience with the king to discuss the emergency. “We are confident the Agong will consider our request accordingly. “It is becoming increasingly clear that the declaration of emergency as advised by prime minister (Muhyiddin Yassin) to the Agong has had detrimental effects, especially in terms of the current economy and political stability. “Foreign investors have withdrawn their intention to invest in Malaysia and meanwhile, not only has the unemployment rate increased, the price of goods has also soared.” Besides an end to the emergency, Mr Khalid said Parliament must also be allowed to sit as usual. He added that the Perikatan Nasional government, as well as Barisan Nasional, are hiding behind the emergency and disregarding the Federal Constitution. And while the emergency was purportedly called to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Khalid said infections were actually increasing, and could result in another wave. He also highlighted Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s bloated cabinet, with 70 ministers and deputies, as a clear waste of government funds. “We hereby appeal to the Agong to act immediately to end the suffering of the people. We believe the Agong will receive our plea and subsequently end the Emergency,” Mr Khalid said. The king can call for the emergency to cease ahead of August on the advice of the Special Independent Emergency Committee 2021. The committee comprises a mix of former top civil servants, professionals from various industries, academics and politicians. THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT


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