Friday, July 30, 2021

Poser over support for Khalid’s petition to Agong on ending emergency

Questions have arisen over the number of MPs who turned up at the palace on April 20, as well as tie signatories to the memorandum itself.

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Questions have surfaced about the extent of support that Amanah’s Khalid Samad has received from his Pakatan Harapan (PH) comrades for a committee he had formed to press for an end to the state of emergency.

This is after MalaysiaNow learnt from a reliable source that not only had most MPs from the coalition failed to turn up at the gates of Istana Negara on April 20 to show support for Khalid’s Committee for Ending the Emergency Declaration, a petition handed over to the Agong’s private secretary had only carried the signature of the Shah Alam MP.

A source close to the inner circle of the Amanah leadership said the memorandum delivered by the committee to Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah was short and signed by Khalid alone.

“Many questions are being asked about why a letter whose strength would depend on the number of MPs as its signatories only bears Khalid’s signature,” the source added.

Days before the gathering on April 20 to hand over the memorandum, the committee, also known as “Tamat Darurat”, had been promoting PH heavyweights including PKR’s Anwar Ibrahim as among those who would be present at the palace.

A key attraction awaited by the media was the organisers’ claim that both Anwar and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad would be attending, the first time the long-time foes would have been seen in public since falling out after the collapse of the PH government.

However Anwar, who was supposed to be part of a three-member delegation entering the palace gates to hand over the memorandum, was a no-show, as he was attending an event in Port Dickson.

Those who did turn up included Langkawi MP Mahathir, his son Mukhriz Mahathir, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, DAP deputy secretary-general Teresa Kok and PKR vice-president Tian Chua, alongside a small group of PH MPs from the Klang Valley.

Khalid later announced that the palace had agreed to grant an audience to Tamat Darurat, although no date was given.

This was his second attempt at seeking a royal audience, in the hope of the Agong eventually cutting short the state of emergency which is due to expire in August.

The 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 had assured that the civilian government would continue to function despite the suspension of Dewan Rakyat debates.

He also said a general election would be called at the end of the emergency subject to improvements in the Covid-19 situation.

Throughout the emergency period, a 19-member special committee comprising prominent individuals and politicians from both sides of the divide will advise the Agong, including on any recommends to lift the declaration.

They include three from the opposition, one each from PH’s three coalition partners who agreed to join in spite of earlier calls by leaders to boycott the committee.

Khalid set up Tamat Darurat as a civil society pressure group, getting on board several individuals and MPs, and obtaining the endorsement of about 100 local welfare and religious groups, from Buddhist spiritual associations and politician fan clubs to Bumiputera car traders.

“If we take into account all of these groups alongside the opposition MPs who have been vocal against the emergency, at the gathering on April 20, there should have been a big show of force outside the palace gates.

“But that did not happen, leading to questions on whether MPs are really committed to ending the emergency,” the same Amanah source told MalaysiaNow.

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