PAS says 'no' to opposition plan to block Budget

KUALA LUMPUR • Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) has said that it will not support a plan by the other opposition parties to block approval of the 2016 Budget presented by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government led by Prime Minister Najib Razak.

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang told the Sinar Harian newspaper that the party does not see a reason to block anything just for the sake of opposing "because our party's policy is to support what's good for the people and oppose what's bad for the people".

His comments drew anger from the opposition camp as the other opposition parties had planned to block the Budget from being approved by Parliament as a means to oust Datuk Seri Najib.

The plan to block the Budget was already seen as being unlikely to succeed even with the 14 PAS MPs supporting the move, as the ruling BN coalition has a big majority in the House.

"There are things we don't agree on, but there is no way we will join the calls to vote down Budget 2016," Datuk Seri Hadi was quoted as saying in Kuala Terengganu on Saturday by the daily.

The Islamic party has increasingly taken a more independent stance among the opposition parties after a bitter split with the Chinese-led Democratic Action Party (DAP) in June, effectively killing the opposition Pakatan Rakyat alliance.

That same month, more than a dozen former top leaders of PAS, including former deputy president Muhammad Sabu and former vice-president Salahuddin Ayub, left the party to form the new splinter Parti Amanah Negara.

Mr Hadi's call to support the Prime Minister's Budget was immediately attacked by the DAP, who accused the Islamic party of being keen to be part of the BN government.

"PAS at one time used to be part of the solution with Pakatan Rakyat, but his (Mr Hadi's) statement shows that they are now part of the problem with BN," said DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, as quoted by the Malaysian media.

Mr Najib presented the Budget for next year on Oct 23, with a vote on its passage by the 222-strong Parliament expected early next month after a month-long debate.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2015, with the headline 'PAS says 'no' to opposition plan to block Budget'. Print Edition | Subscribe