Azalina: GE15 may be only way to resolve Budget 2021 and political impasse (updated)

  • Nation
  • Monday, 23 Nov 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: With a political impasse threatening to defeat the Budget 2021 proposal, calling for a general election to hand the mandate back to the rakyat may be the only avenue left open, says Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

The Penggerang MP proposed “drastic measures” to resolve the issue first, but noted that such motions are unlikely to be voted on given the political impasse.

“With so much political uncertainty at the moment and confidence (and no-confidence) motions unlikely to be voted on, perhaps the only way we can return to political normalcy is to consider returning the mandate to the people by calling for the dissolution of Parliament in order to pave way for a general election, ” she said.

Azalina acknowledged that holding a general election during a pandemic would come with its own set of problems, but added these would not be insurmountable.

“So far, 13 countries are known to have held general elections during Covid-19, one of which is Singapore.

“Before the Republic called for elections on July 10 this year, the number of infections ranged between three digits and four digits daily.

“However, since late August, the number of infections has been brought down to between single and double digits only, ” she posted on her blog on Monday (Nov 23) in a piece titled 'The "Confidence" Debacle'..

Azalina said that drastic measures are needed if Budget 2021 is defeated in the Dewan Rakyat.

"I had raised questions on how MPs would approach the Supply Bill 2021 in times of Covid-19 not too long ago and sadly, there are more questions than answers," she added.

The Umno MP and Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker said that recent events and the upcoming vote on the Budget have called into question confidence in the Prime Minister, particularly if the Budget is defeated.

She said that by convention the Prime Minister would have to resign his post if the Budget is defeated as seen from other Commonwealth countries.

"Until the voting process on the Supply Bill (Budget 2021) takes place, a host of questions remains unanswered," she said.

Azalina said that some of the questions were whether the Prime Minister would resign if the Budget is defeated or if a state of emergency would be declared in Kuala Lumpur to halt Parliament proceedings.

She added that other questions were if a general election would be called if the Budget is defeated and how long would it be before a new Budget could be tabled.

To overcome these uncertainties, Azalina proposed that the government take urgent steps during this Parliamentary session to end the political impasse.

“If all our MPs unite and abide by the King’s decree reminding politicians to stop politicking, then I would humbly submit three feasible steps and urgent proposals to the government (during this Parliamentary session) to ensure Malaysia does not endure more political instability and upheavals, ” she said.

She suggested the tabling of an Anti-Party Hopping Bill and a law to regulate all political parties under a coalition government.

She added that the law for the coalition administration should compel political parties to enter and register into a written coalition government with a shared agenda and policy agreements.

She also proposed that Malaysia enact a law similar to the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011 (FTPA) in the United Kingdom.

She said such a law would ensure that a confidence votes must be specifically worded to trigger a general election to avoid uncertainties.

"This means that a government defeat on a Budget measure would not necessarily bring down a government, though it is likely it would face a vote of no-confidence shortly afterwards, as its ability to command the will of the House would be in question.

"Perhaps only when political equilibrium is restored and the safeguards proposed above are put in place, only then can politicians shift their focus on what they are expected to do when they come to power, by governing responsibly, ” she said.

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