“I hope all MPs can put aside their political differences to ensure Budget 2021 is passed for the sake of the people and the country,” he said in a live televised message yesterday afternoon.
“I give my word that the Perikatan government will continue to find the best way to manage this big crisis we are facing now. Our goal is only one, that is to win in our fight against Covid-19 and ensure the safety and welfare of the people.
“I know many are suffering due to retrenchment and loss of income caused by the pandemic. Many businesses had to be shut down. More than 800,000 people have lost their jobs. I hear your pleas.
“The government will present Budget 2021 in Dewan Rakyat on Nov 6, with various allocations for the government agencies, aid for the people, and incentives for the corporate sector to assist them to face the pandemic, and restore the economy.
“God willing, in the Budget to be presented, the government will announce initiatives which will lighten the burden of the people during this difficult time,” Muhyiddin said, adding that the people must also do their part by abiding strictly to the standard operating procedure (SOP) to stop the transmission of Covid-19, which resulted in nearly 20,000 new cases just in October alone.
He said the SOP must be strictly adhered to in the Batu Sapi by-election and upcoming Sarawak state election, as the government did not have the power to stop elections under the Federal Constitution.
In his speech, the Prime Minister reminded the people that the pandemic was getting worse and frontliners were stretched thin as thousands were infected and quarantined.
“Sabah has the highest number of cases at 13,701, followed by Selangor (4,360), Kuala Lumpur (2,991), Kedah (2,080), and Negri Sembilan (1,516).
“In Sabah alone, 300 frontliners were infected and more than 1,200 have been quarantined.
“Today, nearly 11,000 police personnel had to be quarantined, causing a lack of police personnel on the front line,” Muhyiddin said, adding that while the government had to strike a fine balance between protecting lives and livelihoods, economic activities must continue.
He said the government was unable to stop any election, and only a proclamation of a state of emergency under Article 150 could do so.
He said that movement of voters could not be restricted as this is their democratic right under the constitution.
“The Batu Sapi by-election has been set for Dec 5 and the state election of Sarawak might happen anytime soon, and cannot be avoided. This is because under the Constitution, a by-election must be held within 60 days of a seat falling vacant.
“The Sarawak state constitution, too, states that a state election must be held within 60 days of the dissolution of the state assembly.
“The Election Commission chief commissioner informed me that many EC staff feared reporting for duty at Batu Sapi as they are scared of contracting Covid-19.
“The Health director-general is also worried whether remote areas of Sarawak with no proper health amenities can handle the possible spike in Covid-19 cases after an election,” Muhyiddin said, adding that the cost incurred in such scenarios would be high.
Although there were calls for voters from red zones moving to green zones to be screened, he said there was a possibility of asymptomatic carriers passing on the disease before they could be detected.
“Some suggested we tighten the election SOP. Yes, we can. I will look at these suggestions for the Batu Sapi by-election and Sarawak state election.
“If we cannot stop the elections, I plead to all in Batu Sapi and Sarawak to be careful. Please pity our frontliners.
“Do not go out if you have no need to. Please stay at home because our home is the safest place on earth now,” the Prime Minister added.
Did you find this article insightful?
55% readers found this article insightful