Sunday, February 28, 2021

PN backbenchers pledge ‘solid support’ for budget, PM

They say they will put aside their differences to prioritise the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Backbenchers from the ruling bloc who include MPs from Bersatu, Barisan Nasional (BN), PAS, GPS as well as party-less MPs have expressed “solid support” for the 2021 budget, adding to the 20 BN ministers and deputy ministers who pledged loyalty to Perikatan Nasional (PN) yesterday.

In a statement ahead of a crucial vote which could decide whether the government continues to hold power, the PN Backbenchers Club said all MPs from the ruling alliance had made a “collective decision” to ignore their differences and ensure the people’s well-being.

“Our priority is to fight the Covid-19 pandemic for the sake of the people’s well-being.

“We will also give our full commitment, support and trust to the leadership of the Pagoh MP as the prime minister,” the statement added, referring to Muhyiddin Yassin.

Tomorrow’s parliamentary vote on the 2021 budget could turn into a test of support for Muhyiddin, as any defeat of the budget bill could mean that he has lost the support of MPs.

Some within the ruling bloc, such as former prime minister Najib Razak and Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, have echoed the views of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in criticising the budget.

Both Najib and Anwar said their support would be contingent on several amendments, while former leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad made it clear today that he and three others from his Pejuang bloc will not support the budget tomorrow.

Earlier this week, MalaysiaNow reported attempts by a senior Umno leader to lobby fellow MPs to oppose the budget.

But it is learnt that the campaign has so far received a cool response from the MPs, including from the so-called “court cluster”, the group of former leaders from the previous BN government who are facing multiple charges of corruption.

“There are currently five MPs with Najib while the rest prefer to see the budget passed,” an Umno source told MalaysiaNow.

“Apart from Zahid, there are four others who represent constituencies in Perak, Johor and Kelantan who are with Najib.”

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