Many people disagreed with the Emergency declaration assented to by the King under the advice of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, former premier Mahathir Mohamad opined.
In a blog post on Monday (25 January), Dr Mahathir said: “We have attempted to solicit the opinions of many people regarding the state of emergency. Many of them said that it is not necessary. They gave multiple reasons why they hold such a view.”
“They explained why, but they looked fearful. They lowered their voice while looking around. And they plead us not to tell anyone what they thought,” he added.
Dr Mahathir said that the respondents feared a government that has unbridled powers and one that could do anything to them, including issuing fines as exorbitant as RM5 million and a jail term of 10 years, as per the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021.
“I tried to explain that the government cannot do as they please to its people, though none were assured and are still uneasy,” Dr Mahathir wrote.
He said that they even refused to sign a letter of appeal for an emergency to be withdrawn.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim claimed on 23 January that at least 114 Members of Parliament oppose the nationwide Emergency declaration.
According to Malay Mail, Anwar said the number of MPs opposing the declaration of Emergency has exceeded the majority of Dewan Rakyat members and is enough to request that the King reconvene Parliament and nullify the proclamation.
On 18 January, Dr Mahathir himself, together with four others filed an application to intervene in an originating summons filed by a lawyer seeking the court to interpret the King’s discretion in deciding whether or not to declare a state of emergency.