Umno info chief hits out at veteran MP Razaleigh for abstaining in key budget vote

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah was accused of not respecting party discipline. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan has accused its longest-serving MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah of not respecting party discipline by not supporting the just-ratified 2021 budget.

Without mentioning the name of the lawmaker, Mr Shahril said he could not understand the move made by a "senior and influential" MP with the title of party adviser, who also openly held a news conference with an opposition leader.

"Imagine if it were another individual who did the same - what would the reaction be?" Mr Shahril said on Facebook on Wednesday (Dec 16).

"Or what if an Umno lawmaker or any Umno leader openly create a movement, call the media together with opposing parties without the approval of the party president or the supreme council?

"Would this set a good example? Would this improve the situation in the party? Surely not."

Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh was the only lawmaker who didn't attend Parliament on Tuesday when a vote was taken to ratify Budget 2021.

The Supply Bill (Budget) 2021 was passed with 111 MPs supporting it and 108 in opposition in the 220-strong House. Two other MPs died earlier this year.

Umno is a supporter of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Tengku Razaleigh, who is serving his ninth consecutive term as MP, has been critical of Tan Sri Muhyiddin's leadership and said on Monday that he would not be attending Parliament to vote on the budget.

At the same news conference on Monday, Tengku Razaleigh - who is chairman of Umno's council of advisers - sat beside opposition leader Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to deride the PN government. Dr Mahathir is with the newly formed Parti Pejuang Tanah Air.

The two old-time political enemies said they would be willing to form a "unity government" should the budget fail to be passed and the PN government fell.

Mr Shahril said Umno should not normalise such incidents as part of its "political new norm".

"That is why I am voicing this out, so similar incidents will not occur as if it is nothing unusual. It must be stopped. In the midst of Umno trying to look for its next move, discipline and integrity within the party must be protected," he said.

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