KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today revealed that he has suggested the formation of a National Operations Council during his audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong earlier today.
The 95-year-old explained that forming the council, better known by its Malay abbreviation Mageran, could potentially steer the country towards the right direction and help solve the health, economic, and social issues currently plaguing the country.
He said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah did not dismiss his suggestion outright, but pointed out that such a call must come from the government.
“I raised the issue with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong where we could form a special body, a Mageran, like how it was done during the last Emergency during 1969.
“But I am not confident the current government will form a Mageran, because right from the start they did not want to have a Mageran; to the government, everything is running properly, all the issues have been solved,” he said in a virtual press conference this afternoon.
“What I do know is the Agong did not reject it and did not say no, but he did say in order to set up the Mageran, the proposal must come from the government,” he added.
Asked to explain his endorsement for a Mageran, Dr Mahathir said this was because the last one formed back in 1969 by then deputy prime minister Tun Abdul Razak had managed to solve the political and social issues relevant at that time.
Elaborating further, the Parti Pejuang Tanahair (Pejuang) pro-tem chairman said a Mageran need not comprise politicians but can also consist of professionals trained to handle the current health, economic and social crises.
“When I suggested this, I explained that this was what happened the last time we had an Emergency and that it was a good solution.
“I explained the role of Tun Abdul Razak and how he had solved the problems, and after that the country became quite settled and stable and it lasted for a very long time,” Dr Mahathir said.
“We found that a Mageran maybe can work because a Mageran will bring into the body not necessarily politicians but experts in the epidemic and such. We feel that a Mageran can help overcome the issue of the total number of new daily cases and reduce deaths,” he added, referring to the Covid-19 numbers.
Dr Mahathir said he offered himself and his party’s services to the proposed Mageran, but stopped short of admitting if he was volunteering to be its leader.
“At Pejuang, we have identified areas that we can contribute, so we offered, not necessarily to be the leaders, but if we have a Mageran-type of setup we would like to contribute,” the Langkawi MP said.
Dr Mahathir suggested a bleak outlook for Malaysia if a Mageran-like body was not formed soon.
“I am afraid the situation of Covid-19, the economy and social problems will get worse because there is no idea from the government about how to handle these issues.
“We have a lot of ideas about how to handle these problems but if there is no Mageran we cannot execute or implement our ideas,” he said of his party.
Dr Mahathir was earlier today granted a royal audience following a request by the Agong to meet all political leaders to discuss the current Covid-19 situation and the state of Emergency, among other matters.
PAS deputy president Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, MCA president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, and Parti Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal were the other leaders granted an audience before the King today.