‘Sensible MPs to back Budget’

WITH two days to go until Budget 2021 goes to a vote on Thursday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof (pic) has expressed confidence that it will be passed, saying there is an adequate number of “sensible MPs” to support it.

“If you look at the number of sensible people (MPs), we have enough. I cannot say for sure today that we have 120 or 125 MPs in support (of Budget 2021).

“I see that sensible people understand what the government is doing and they will support us. I’m not worried, ” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

He asked all MPs to set aside their political differences and work together in improving Budget 2021.

“We can refine the allocations. If it’s not enough, more funds can be allocated for the people, ” he added.

There are 220 MPs out of the 222-seat Parliament at present, following the recent deaths of Batu Sapi MP Datuk Liew Vui Keong and Gerik MP Datuk Hasbullah Osman.

The Perikatan Nasional government requires a simple majority of 111 MPs to pass Budget 2021.

A letter purportedly written by veteran Umno MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has emerged, stating that he will not participate in the Budget 2021 debates unless the issue of the motion of no-confidence against Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is addressed.

Copies of the letter were said to have been placed on the tables of MPs in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Perikatan Nasional Backbenchers Club chairman Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said Tengku Razaleigh’s letter was a U-turn from his earlier assurance that he would be present when the Budget is voted on.

“He told me verbally that he would come, so I will hold on to that, ” he said, adding that he had yet to speak to Tengku Razaleigh on the matter.

Shahidan is confident that Budget 2021 will receive 112 votes from Perikatan MPs and their allies.

Datuk Jalaluddin Alias (BN-Jelebu) confirmed that he would be present in the Dewan Rakyat and would support the Budget if there was a bloc voting at the policy stage.

“The party’s decision is to support the Budget en bloc, ” he added.

Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) said it was crucial for the Budget to be passed as it was created for the people and frontliners.

Charles Santiago (PH-Klang) said the issue of support for Muhyiddin should have been settled before debates on the Budget started.

He added that the current uncertainty had raised questions whether the government had the backing for the Budget.

Teresa Kok (PH-Seputeh) confirmed that she had received a copy of Tengku Razaleigh’s letter, but only said: “Just wait and see.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said has proposed several steps to overcome the uncertainties over the passing of Budget 2021.

The Pengerang Umno MP suggested the tabling of an anti-party-

hopping Bill and another Bill to regulate parties in a coalition government, compelling them to enter into a shared agenda and policies agreement.

However, she acknowledged that holding a general election may be the only way for the country to return to political normalcy.

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

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