After several media outlets misquoted him due to confusion over his northern dialect, Barisan Nasional MP Shahidan Kassim today clarified that he had not been targeting former prime minister Najib Razak when he urged MPs to support the 2021 budget.
Shahidan, who is Perikatan Nasional’s backbenchers chief, was addressing the Dewan Rakyat when he was interrupted by former health minister Dzulkefly Ahmad who wanted to respond to allegations that he had not done enough to contain the spread of Covid-19 when Pakatan Harapan was in power.
Shahidan went on to say that MPs who don’t support the budget should not be present during voting on Nov 26, adding that they would be betraying the people.
“Let me tell you, anyone who rejects this budget, including my friend the former health minister, has betrayed the people,” he said.
Shahidan however pronounced “bekas”, the Malay word for “former”, as “bekaih”, leading some to mistake it for “Pekan”.
“I did not say that. Maybe it was misunderstood as I used the northern dialect. But I never said ‘Pekan’,” Shahidan, the MP for Arau in Perlis, later told MalaysiaNow.
Najib, who is the Pekan MP, had several times stated his objection to the budget unless several amendments are made.