Emergency is Muhyiddin’s huge gamble, says PPBM leader

The decision to impose an emergency was a huge gamble by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin but it was a risk he had to take in the interest of the people and the nation, said a PPBM leader.

(FMT) – Party information chief Wan Saiful Wan Jan said this huge step is risky in terms of Muhyiddin’s political reputation as he had left Umno to fight kleptocracy, protest against corruption and to champion integrity.

“Suddenly, he took this huge step, it definitely is a big gamble. So, we do not want to do anything wrong or abuse our powers. We don’t want to lose the elections. I am sure the prime minister does not want to lose either.

“As a result of this realisation, we need to do the best we can to ensure that the integrity and credibility of this government is maintained so it will continue (to be in power),” he told CNA in its weekly programme Insight last night titled “Muhyiddin’s Political Gamble”.

Wan Saiful was confident that Muhyiddin would be cautious as he had promised to hold elections as soon as possible after the emergency ends, adding that he did what was best for the country.

He said if there is any abuse of power or wrongdoing during the emergency, the people “will surely punish PN” (Perikatan Nasional).

He said some had argued that a movement control order (MCO) would have sufficed to control the spread of Covid-19, but the reality is it is not enough and that more powers are needed to make sure effective controls can be put in place.

“I am sure the provision is quite clearly supported by the Cabinet and all the key players within the government structure, including the civil service,” he said.

Appearing on the same episode, Umno Supreme Council member Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said some might describe the emergency as a political checkmate for his party but it was only a temporary one.

“Well, they can checkmate (by using the emergency). But for how long? How long is the emergency (going to last)? It surely cannot be for two to three years. It is ridiculous, isn’t’ it?

“Sooner or later, the emergency will be lifted, maybe in two or three months. Once it is lifted, what is going to happen? There has to be a Parliament sitting. When Parliament sits, we have to call for a vote. Then (we will see) who has the majority or control of the House,” he said.

Tajuddin said Umno had made a huge sacrifice by foregoing its right to form and lead the government as it had the most number of MPs in PN.

He warned that if Muhyiddin decides to continue the emergency without a valid reason or with lame excuses, Umno would fight back.

“You think we are going to just sit back and watch? Come on, we are not that stupid. We know when to act. Now two (Umno) MPs have already withdrawn (support for Muhyiddin). If, let’s say, all Umno MPs are asked to pull their handbrake (stop supporting PN), what is going to happen?”

He reiterated that Umno would only continue its cooperation as agreed with PAS under the Muafakat Nasional umbrella, but it would not have anything to do with PPBM in the next general election.

“We have supported Muhyiddin all this while. If we had wanted to bring him down, we could have done it much earlier. We could have demanded for Umno to lead the new government. Who is power crazy? Who is looking for positions?” he said.

Wan Saiful, however, said it would be risky for any political party to claim they have the right to be the most dominant party by virtue of the number of MPs.

“That era has ended. We should take some risks and say that we are willing to share so that we can work and govern the country in a peaceful and harmonious way.

“It is important to understand that Umno, as a party, has to remain with the PN government. The decision is to continue supporting Tan Sri Muhyiddin as the prime minister. A few individuals in the party may have made statements here and there. But a few people do not make a party,” he said.

Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

Johor Umno deputy head Nur Jazlan Mohamed, who was also a guest on the show, said Malaysia needed a strong government to lead it out of the current problems it was facing.

“And an emergency won’t help. In fact, we are the only country in the world to use a nationwide emergency as a reason to solve Covid-19, but suspend Parliament at the same time.

“So, the consequences of suspending Parliament too might cascade to how the people will react when a general election is called. Usually, governments that use the emergency will face backlash from voters after it is lifted.”

Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Former prime minister D Mahathir Mohamad said he had warned Muhyiddin that Umno will be the strongest party in this coalition and that he is going to have problems with its demands.

“Now we can see that this is his problem. He is never very sure about his majority position. It is always being hampered by demands made by Umno. When he requested for the emergency to be declared, he had already lost his majority.

“He should have submitted his resignation because he lost his majority. But in order to continue remaining as the prime minister, he wanted a state of emergency. Which means that he will still remain as prime minister, despite not having the majority support of MPs.”

Mahathir, who was also a guest, said with the enhanced powers under the emergency, Muhyiddin can overrule any law that may limit his capacity to take action for his own benefit.