Special Malaysia Cabinet meeting to boost Covid-19 fight, doubts about Budget being tabled

Malaysian Prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin arrives at Perdana Putra in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 23, 2020. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
The Cabinet meeting will take place in Putrajaya, with attending ministers required to be first tested for Covid-19. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - As ministers huddled at a special Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the tabling of Budget 2021 in Parliament has been put into question.

At the meeting at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Friday (Oct 23) morning, the Cabinet also discussed various options to boost the fight against Covid-19, including exploring the introduction of a specific law to curtail the surge of infections, sources said.

"We were told there that expenditures will be allocated according to need," said one source.

However, he said there is no official notification on this yet.

Among others present at the unprecedented meeting were Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun, Armed Forces Chief Tan Sri Affendi Buang, and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador.

The meeting started at 9.30am and concluded just before 1pm.

Earlier, Cabinet members were seen entering the compounds of the Perdana Putra building that houses the Cabinet meeting room.

Among the earliest spotted were Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee, National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Sadique and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Also seen entering the Perdana Putra compound were Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun and Armed Forces chief Jen Tan Sri Affendi Buang.

The special meeting was called following a call on Wednesday by Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for a political ceasefire after the party threatened to pull out of the Muhyiddin-led Perikatan Nasional (PN) government a week earlier.

Attending ministers were required to be tested with the rapid test kit antigen (RTK-Ag) method before being cleared to attend, sources privy to the matter told with The Star.

"It will be a face-to-face meeting," said the source briefly.

Malaysia's Transport minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong undergoes temperature check as he arrives at Perdana Putra to attend a special cabinet meeting on Oct 23. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

News that this meeting will take place had piqued the interest of many, especially political observers.

This is especially so following latest political developments, from PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong over claims that he had "formidable and convincing" support of lawmakers to form a new government to Umno calling for a political ceasefire.

It is not often that the Prime Minister calls for a special Cabinet meeting.

The Cabinet meets weekly on Wednesdays or on Fridays when Parliament is in session.

Zahid said on Wednesday that Umno, which has the most number of MPs in PN, will support the government's initiative to help the people and country to face the Covid-19 pandemic and economic uncertainties.

This is a U-turn from last week, when Umno said it was considering withdrawing support for PN and wanted "fresh terms" to remain in the 12-party ruling coalition.

The political twists followed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's audience with the Malaysian King on Oct 13 where he claimed to have "formidable" support from federal lawmakers to form a new government.

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