Monday, March 1, 2021

PM hints at reconciliation ahead of budget

He says an understanding can be formed among MPs.

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Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin today hinted at some form of reconciliatory gesture to MPs across the divide, in a special message assuring that the upcoming budget will seriously address the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on people’s livelihoods.

“I hope all MPs can put aside their political differences to ensure the 2021 budget will be passed for the sake of the people and the nation. Let us put the interests of the people above everything else.

“An understanding can be formed among MPs so that the 2021 budget can be passed with support from both ruling and opposition MPs,” he said today.

His speech came three days after a second reminder by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to MPs not to derail the budget, which will be tabled on Nov 6.

Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah made the call after refusing to use his powers to declare a state of emergency that could avert snap polls in the event that the budget is shot down.

Fears that the budget would not be passed were expressed amid talk that a group of MPs from Umno would not support it.

Failure to pass the budget would mean the collapse of the government, which could lead to a general election, something that health authorities have warned against amid fears of election clusters which would complicate the battle against Covid-19.

The deadly virus has so far claimed 249 lives in Malaysia and infected more than 30,000 people, with the highest number of cases in the month of October alone.

Some 10,000 people are still being treated at hospitals nationwide.

Meanwhile, Muhyiddin said fears that the Sarawak state election, which is due next year, would be held in the middle of the pandemic, have been expressed by officials from the Election Commission as well as the health ministry.

He said worries were also expressed over how to conduct the upcoming Batu Sapi parliamentary by-election in Sabah, after the seat was vacated by the death of its incumbent Liew Vui Keong.

“These are the views from experts in the management of the elections in our country. I have to listen to their views,” said Muhyiddin, adding that other than tightening existing SOPs, there is little the authorities can do to avert further pressure on frontliners and medical facilities.

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