A joint appearance by Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim to protest the emergency proclamation today did not materialise as the PKR leader was attending an event in his constituency of Port Dickson.
The attendance of Anwar and Mahathir had been promoted by the organiser, a committee led by Amanah’s Khalid Samad, to press for an end to the emergency or Tamat Darurat.
Anwar’s attendance today would have been the first time he was seen together with Mahathir in public since the pair fell out again following the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government last year.
The Tamat Darurat committee had invited both leaders to join a delegation presenting a petition to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong calling for an end to the emergency period, alongside other top PH leaders Mohamad Sabu and Lim Guan Eng.
Among the PH MPs who were present today were PKR’s Maria Chin Abdullah, Fahmi Fadzil and Tian Chua, DAP’s Hannah Yeoh and Teresa Kok, as well as Mukhriz Mahathir of the Pejuang bloc.
This is the second petition on the matter presented to the king by the committee.
The first letter was handed over on March 26 but Khalid later said it had received no response.
Speaking to reporters today, Mahathir accused the government of not giving the Agong enough information before the emergency was declared.
He also claimed that Malays were “angry” with the rulers, saying this could be seen through their social media posts.
“But it is quite clear that large numbers of Malays are angry because they are suffering due to this emergency,” the former prime minister said.
When asked what they would do if they were not granted an audience with the Agong to personally present their concerns, Mahathir said they were not allowed to meet with the king.
“We can only see the (private) secretary, but of course before, even when I was not prime minister, I came by the front door, but now I have to come by the back door,” he added.
Khalid meanwhile said the memorandum was delivered to palace officials to be handed over to the Agong.
“We are confident that this time, the Agong will consent to receive a delegation from the committee so that we can directly present what we feel needs to be done for the well-being of the country and the institution of the Malay rulers,” he said at a press conference outside the palace.
The state of emergency was declared in January amid a sharp spike in Covid-19 infections across the country.
It coincided with the second declaration of movement control order, known as MCO 2.0.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said then that the civilian government would continue to function and pledged no interruptions to economic activities or the judicial system.
He also said Parliament would not convene throughout the emergency period, and no elections would be held, adding that a general election would be held once the special committee gives the green light that it is safe.