The council can be scrutinised by Parliament but answers only to the Agong.
(Editor’s note: An earlier copy of this article said politicians would not be included in the council. This has been corrected.)
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said his vision of a National Operations Council-style government to tide the country through the Covid-19 pandemic will be scrutinised by Parliament, but cannot be toppled by politicians.
Calling it the Majlis Pemulihan Negara (National Restoration Council), Mahathir said that the council’s job was to work towards herd immunity against Covid-19, solve problems regarding education and fix the economy.
He said Parliament will be able to scrutinise the actions of the council but are not allowed to dismantle them.
“The problem with politics is the attempt to seize power. However, if a government is changed, the new government will be weak anyway because of a thin majority.
“A political (solution to the Covid-19 crisis) will only prolong the problem,” said Mahathir on his blog today (June 12).
Mahathir said his vision for the council was that it will only deal with these matters and nothing else.
He said the council reports only to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and will be dissolved once herd immunity is achieved, or a general election is held.
Mahathir said the council will comprise no more than 20 non-partisan experts and “politicians not acting on behalf of their parties”.
“Their names will be presented to the Agong. They will serve voluntarily and for free. They have to treat their appointment as a form of national service.
“If the Agong and the Conference of Rulers agree, then (I will) present the nominees of the council for their consideration,” he said.
On Thursday, Mahathir revealed that he had mooted this idea when he was granted an audience by the Agong. He also offered his “services” in the new council, if it is formed.
However, he said the Agong was of the opinion that such a proposal can only come from the government.
The Agong had summoned political leaders between Wednesday and Friday. He is expected to meet more political leaders come Monday.
On Wednesday, the Agong will chair a special Conference of Rulers meeting.
So far, Pakatan Harapan has opposed Mahathir’s idea while Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the idea was not brought up when he was granted an audience by the Agong.