Tun M: Interim govt to get Malaysia out of quagmire but PN ‘unlikely’ to agree

The setting up of a National Operations Council (NOC) was among the suggestions put forward by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong today.

However, the former prime minister admitted that it was unlikely for the ruling administration to propose the NOC to Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, in its bid to hold on to power.

Dr Mahathir said Malaysia was going through a crisis on four fronts – health (Covid-19 pandemic), the economy, political instability and social.

“These are four different problems faced by the government, and the government is unable to overcome these issues,” said Dr Mahathir, chairman of Parti Pejuang Tanah Air.

“After calling for a state of emergency, the number of Covid-19 cases have increased … averaging from 2,000, to hitting over 9,000 cases.”

Malaysia recorded 5,671 new Covid-19 cases today.

“So much has been spent on financial aid, but people are still without jobs… some without food.”

He said the Perikatan Nasional government was not recognised by the people.

“The people are unhappy. They call it a failed government.”

Dr Mahathir also said among the other social issues faced by the rakyat are the rising number of suicides and sexual harassment cases.

“I’ve informed Tuanku (the Agong) on how to deal with these problems. We, at Pejuang, have been discussing these matters in-depth. I told Tuanku that a special body like the NOC should be set up, like in 1969.”

An NOC was set up in 1969, following the May 13 race riots. Then Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, set up the NOC, with his deputy, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, as director of operations.

“If we were to set up the NOC, the current government must propose it to the Agong. But I don’t believe the current government will set up the NOC. They are already saying that they don’t need the NOC … that everything is okay.”

Dr Mahathir pointed out that the NOC set up in 1969 achieved its objectives and saw a stronger administration governing Malaysia when the election was called.

“Tun Razak introduced the New Economic Policy and stabilised the political situation in the country by having representatives of various parties in the NOC. The NOC can solve the problems (faced today).”

He added it was difficult to execute the suggestions as Pejuang did not have a role in the current administration.

“The government can take these ideas but there’s a difference between suggestions and executing those suggestions.”

When asked who should lead the NOC if it became a reality, Dr Mahathir said: “Since I was there (Istana Negara), I offered my services. But the NOC can only be formed if it is proposed by the government. I doubt the government will propose an NOC… certainly not with me around.”

Dr Mahathir said he was unsure as to why the Agong had called for a meeting with the Malay rulers on June 16, but said Al-Sultan Abdullah “took down everything that was discussed”, and was confident that the King would inform the rulers of the discussions between His Majesty and other political leaders.

Al-Sultan Abdullah met PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Parti Amanah Negara leader Mohamad Sabu yesterday. Today, the Agong saw Dr Mahathir, MCA president Wee Ka Siong, PAS deputy president Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man and Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.

The Langkawi MP said Parliament should reconvene soon and that a general election can only be held when the country achieved herd immunity.

Twentytwo13 had last Friday, raised the possibility of the Malay rulers meeting to discuss the state of affairs in Malaysia and the setting up of a temporary government.

The article highlighted the setting up of an NOC but pointed out that it remained unclear if the ruling government would agree to it.

Istana Negara confirmed yesterday that the Malay rulers would meet next week.