Malaysia's King calls on MPs to pass Budget 2021

Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin (left) and Malaysia's King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah prior to their meeting in Kuala Lumpur, on Oct 28, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's King on Wednesday (Oct 28) repeated his call for MPs to "give fulsome support" for the upcoming Budget 2021 that is set to be tabled on Nov 6.

The Palace said this in a statement after the King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, met with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in the morning to receive a briefing on the crucial supply Bill.

"Sultan Abdullah calls on MPs to respect His Majesty's advice to cease all political quarrels and instead prioritise the public welfare and national prosperity to ensure Budget 2021 is passed without disturbance," said Royal Comptroller Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin.

The King had on Sunday rejected Tan Sri Muhyiddin's controversial request for emergency powers.

But despite the embarrassing setback for the Prime Minister, the ruler directed politicians to cease undermining the stability of the government amid a resurgent coronavirus pandemic, which Sultan Abdullah said the Muhyiddin administration was handling well.

"Sultan Abdullah also expresses full confidence in the ability of Tan Sri Muhyiddin to lead the country during this time when the nation is being tested with various crises," Datuk Fadil added.

The royal decree comes just two days after Umno, Mr Muhyiddin's largest ally, held a series of marathon meetings to decide whether to continue supporting Mr Muhyiddin's Perikatan Nasional pact, having repeatedly threatened to dismantle his government's wafer-thin majority due to unhappiness with his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

The Perikatan Nasional (PN) pact has just 113 out of 222 members of the Lower House, with Umno supplying 39 of them.

Meanwhile leaders of the main opposition alliance Pakatan Harapan (PH) are meeting Thursday to decide its strategy for the budget session of Parliament, with those aligned to Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim still intent on testing Mr Muhyiddin's support.

Malaysia Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin (right) talking with Malaysia's King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah after their meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 28, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

"... 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, from Datuk Seri Anwar's Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), posted on Facebook.

"Instead, we must consider using this as an all important bargaining chip, to obtain some much needed reforms to save democracy," he added. "On the very top of my list of democratic reforms is to give an unfettered right to the opposition to table a vote of no confidence motion in Parliament."

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Parliament Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun said on Wednesday that despite receiving more than 16 motions of no-confidence motion against Tan Sri Muhyiddin, as well as confidence motions from ruling pact lawmakers, they would not be prioritised over government business.

"There are many more important motions we have received apart from focusing on the upcoming tabling of the Budget 2021. We will arrange them according to government business foremostly," he was quoted as saying by Utusan Malaysia.

Should the government fail to approve spending for next year, Mr Muhyiddin would have to resign, possibly triggering snap polls as no other MP appears to be able to command a parliamentary majority.

PKR president Anwar has repeatedly claimed in the past month that he has a "strong, convincing, formidable majority" to form a new government but has failed to prove this assertion.

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