Mahathir, Anwar issue joint statement opposing security law

KUALA LUMPUR • Political rivals Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim issued a joint statement yesterday opposing the National Security Council (NSC) Act 2016.

The former prime minister and his ex-deputy said that the statement, which had both their signatures, was issued in light of a "national crisis" and in the interest of the people, the Malay Mail reported.

"This Act has sidelined the powers and roles of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Conference of Malay Rulers in a crucial issue concerning the nation's security and the liberty of its people," Anwar and Dr Mahathir said in the statement.

The statement about the controversial NSC Act, which grants the government sweeping emergency powers, comes two weeks after Dr Mahathir and Anwar shook hands in a courtroom. It was the first time in 18 years they had met after Dr Mahathir sacked Anwar from the Cabinet.

"It is because of this national crisis that we, together with the people, object to this Act and bring change and reformation in order to salvage the rights and freedom of the people and to rebuild our beloved country," they added.

Anwar confirmed the authenticity of the statement when asked about it at the Kuala Lumpur court complex.

The statement about the controversial NSC Act, which grants the government sweeping emergency powers, comes two weeks after Dr Mahathir and Anwar shook hands in a courtroom.

It was the first time in 18 years they had met after Dr Mahathir sacked Anwar from the Cabinet.

Separately, police said yesterday they were investigating Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah for allegedly trying to topple the government and the Prime Minister through the planned Bersih 5 rally.

Malaysia's Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the head of the electoral reform group was being investigated in relation to acts detrimental to parliamentary democracy.

"We are also conducting investigations against Maria Chin for wanting to topple the government [AND]the Prime Minister through Bersih 5," he said yesterday, the Malay Mail reported.

Ms Chin recently announced the Nov 5 Bersih 5 rally, which will be preceded by a series of roadshows that will begin on Oct 1 comprising 246 stops around the country.

Bersih is demanding that reforms become a national agenda, that the parliamentary democracy system be strengthened and that Prime Minister Najib Nazak step down.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2016, with the headline 'Mahathir, Anwar issue joint statement opposing security law'. Print Edition | Subscribe