Saturday, November 21, 2020

Don’t derail budget, Agong reminds MPs again

He says the financial allocations are crucial in efforts to restore the economy.

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The Yang di-Pertuan Agong today warned MPs once more against trying to derail the upcoming budget, saying the financial allocations are crucial in efforts to restore the economy ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“His Majesty reminds MPs that political quarrels for the sake of personal interests will only harm the country and lead to the people falling victim at a time when the entire nation is battling the Covid-19 pandemic,” said a statement released by Istana Negara following an audience granted to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin ahead of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

During the audience, Muhyiddin briefed the Agong on the 2021 budget to be tabled on Nov 6.

Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah’s latest reminder comes amid calls from a section of MPs in PKR who threaten to derail the budget next month.

Earlier, MalaysiaNow reported that the Agong’s reminder to MPs on Sunday about the importance of the budget had not stopped some MPs loyal to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim from planning to vote down the budget.

“So the budget vote then becomes the one and only silver bullet the opposition has to test the legitimacy of the government. Therefore, we can’t simply surrender this silver bullet to the prime minister for free,” Subang MP Wong Chen said in a social media post.

“Instead, we must consider using this as an all-important bargaining chip, to obtain some much needed reforms to save democracy.”

Sultan Abdullah had said that the passing of the budget, the first since the pandemic hit the economic sector, claiming more than 200 lives in Malaysia and millions worldwide, would be critical to ensuring funds for frontliners in their battle against the pandemic.

There have been fears of a general election if the budget is not passed, which could trigger a series of Covid-19 clusters.

This followed reports that key Umno leaders aligned with their president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former prime minister Najib Razak could engineer a collapse of Muhyiddin’s government if they did not vote to support the budget.

On Sunday, Sultan Abdullah warned politicians against “politicking” as well as attempts to subvert the government’s battle against Covid-19, after declining to use his power to declare a state of emergency which could prevent pandemic-season polls.

Despite the no-go for Muhyiddin’s proposal, the king’s statement was widely seen as an endorsement of the nine-month-old government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis, with Sultan Abdullah again expressing his full confidence in Muhyiddin’s ability to handle the crisis today.

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