Council proposal untenable and out of context

Lina Soo

KUCHING: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent proposal to form a National Operations Council (NOC), is untenable and oddly out of context.

Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) president Lina Soo opined that the proposed council was not the way to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

She noted that it was in the interest of national security then that the NOC was established in 1969 to handle the racial riots after the general election and then prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein had yet to constitute his cabinet, which in essence there was no functioning government.

“Today, Malaysia is going through an emergency created out of the Covid-19 pandemic and distinction must be drawn between emergencies borne out of a health crisis or from a public security risk situation,” she told New Sarawak Tribune on Sunday (June 13).

To constitute a council or advisory body to rule at a time of crisis, Soo said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong could only act upon advice from the government represented by the prime minister or a minister acting under the authority of the Cabinet.

“Should Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin proffer to advise the King to constitute a special council, be it NOC, or by any other name, this would be an admission on the part of the federal government of their colossal failure to manage the health crisis and their incompetence to steer the country to economic recovery,” she said.

To resolve the crisis Malaysia faces today, Soo said there are two options — to replace the administration whose management of the pandemic and the economy is unsuccessful, while another option is to dissolve parliament to seek a fresh mandate from the people to form the succeeding government. 

“Both options require due constitutional process and political actions from all parties concerned. This means that parliament needs to reconvene. 

“There is no reason for parliament to be prorogued when after all, MPs have been vaccinated and standard operating procedures (SOPs) are set in place.

“Lacking political will to tackle the virus without seeking curative treatment to eradicate the virus, and amidst failure to expedite mass vaccination, the virus is here to stay and getting more malignant with each mutation.

“We are racing against time, and I hope that the King will, in his wisdom, guide the country to normalcy and stability through this difficult and trying period to reduce the suffering of the people,” said Soo.