Are you trying to kill the economy, Umno asks PM

PRESSURE is mounting on Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for purportedly trying to push for an Emergency proclamation.

And this time, the Pagoh MP is receiving an earful from his own allies within the Perikatan Nasional coalition, which is Umno.

“If the PM was to get his way in imposing the proposed state of Emergency, I as a former finance minister and former chairman of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) can say with certainty that it may be the ‘final nail in the coffin’ for our already battered economy.

“Local and foreign investors will shun us completely. Business confidence will go down to zero,” Umno stalwart Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah vented his frustration.

Yesterday, Muhyiddin called for a special Cabinet meeting at Seri Perdana. It was speculated the former was looking into declaring an Emergency due to the ongoing pandemic.

However, critics have said Muhyiddin was looking at the ‘nuclear option’ as it was rumoured that his political adversaries may be looking at dislodging his government by voting down Budget 2021, scheduled for Nov 6.

However, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah ibni Almarhum Sultan Ahmad Shah has informed the government that he will need to deliberate the proposals with the Conference of Rulers first before making any decision.

The Conference of Rulers is scheduled to meet tomorrow, at 2.30pm.

Razaleigh said he was shocked that Muhyiddin, together with his Cabinet, is now seeking the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to declare a state of Emergency.

“And I assume Muhyiddin will put himself in charge during the Emergency, giving him far-reaching powers.

“While I’m not questioning the prime minister’s right to seek such proclamation but rather its basis, rationale, timing and motive,” he said in a statement.

Razaleigh said the government should instead focus on the current public health crisis instead of creating more instability in the government as this is having adverse effect on everyone.

“The people and politicians, from both sides, except for a few recalcitrant, are working together to beat COVID-19 and following the standard operating procedures diligently.

“Our parliamentary democracy is working well and there are no riots on our streets. I just cannot see any honest basis for such a request. I can only suspect ulterior motives behind it,” said the Gua Musang MP.

He added while the government seemed to move in the right direction in the early days of the pandemic, the authorities now seem to lack coordinated and integrated approach in dealing with the crisis.

“There are double standards on the enforcement and penalty meted out against SOP offenders, one for the citizens and the other for well-connected people such as ministers.

“Even on the procurement of the much-needed COVID-19 vaccines for our people from overseas, the government has taken a narrow, short-sighted and irresponsible approach of not supporting any genuine private sector initiatives.

“And this is happening despite knowing that it would cost the government nothing but increase the chances of our country getting a workable vaccine when ready,” added Razaleigh.

No time for politics now

Fellow Umno veteran, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz also criticised Muhyiddin’s political moves, describing them as “killing a few rats using a bomb”.

“The people are already suffering socio-economic impact due the pandemic and yet some people still have time to play politics.

“There are already effective ways to contain COVID-19 such as the movement control order, wearing masks and maintain social distancing.

“These politicians are using deplorable ways to stay in power. Clearly, these people have run out of steam and ability to plan, implement policies and measures to address the current predicament,” said the former Kuala Kangsar MP.

Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said Malaysia is not in a situation where it can handle any political instability due to effects of the pandemic on Malaysia.

“We not in a situation where our economy, health systems and public order have collapsed. We are in a focused recovery phase.

“The public is affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and they are abiding with the necessary health protocols. Moreover, the people of Malaysia are working hard to maintain their jobs and businesses,” he said.

On a related matter, former Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Sheriff Kassim said the Malay Rulers will find it difficult to support a proclamation of Emergency due to the sluggish economy.

“Unlike in 1969, we are heavily invested in the economy. My colleagues in Khazanah Holdings Bhd, Tabung Haji and Permodalan Nasional Bhd will be worried about their investment portfolio,” he said.

Sheriff added an Emergency proclamation would also affect the Malays who have invested heavily in unit trusts and the Employees Provident Fund.

“And much of these funds are invested in Bursa Malaysia. If the market collapses, the establishments can’t pay good dividends to its shareholders.

“So Mr Prime Minister, think before you leap. Be truthful to the Rulers on the economic and social impact an Emergency would do to Malaysians,” he added. – Oct 24, 2020

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