KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — With two possible candidates for Malaysia’s next prime minister, DAP’s Lim Kit Siang today suggested that the one not picked for the top job be made the deputy in a unity government.
The Iskandar Puteri MP said this would allow the creation of a bipartisan “War Cabinet” to lead Malaysia’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and pave the way for a less risky general election in 18 months’ time.
“The War Cabinet should reflect this parliamentary unity, to turn the tides of defeat in the 20-month war against the pandemic with a new policy and strategy in gaining control of Covid-19, restoring pubic hope, trust and confidence in a ‘whole-of-society’ approach,” Lim said in a statement.
He cited the recent spiraling cases in Malaysia, noting that yesterday saw a new peak of daily infections at 22,242 cases.
“We have overtaken Canada and are now ranked 25th among countries with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, when 12 months ago last year, we were ranked 89th.
“When Malaysia declared Emergency on January 11 to combat the pandemic, there were 138,224 cases and 555 deaths. Today it stands at 1,466,512 cases and 13,302 deaths,” he said.
Lim added this meant there are now 10 times more Covid-19 cases and 24 times the number of Covid-19 related deaths since the declaration of Emergency, with 145,965 cases and 1,929 deaths in the past week alone.
“This is Malaysia’s ‘darkest hour’, and we must staunch the national haemorrhage to find our ‘finest hour’ — with a War Cabinet and War Parliament the remedy for such dire times.
“The War Parliament must forge national unity to wage the war against the pandemic with MPs playing a leading role in the various parliamentary select committees not only in the Covid-19 pandemic but to prepare the ground for an economic and national recovery,” he said.
The top two contenders for prime minister are Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has summoned 114 MPs for an audience today, to verify if they really support Ismail’s candidacy.