Dr M: Pejuang MPs will not support Budget 2021

KUALA LUMPUR: MPs from the yet-to-be-registered Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) will not support Budget 2021, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"We are taking the stand to reject Budget 2021 and it is done with a sense of responsibility for Malaysians until our term as elected representatives ends," he said in a blog post on Wednesday (Nov 25).

Dr Mahathir criticised the decision to limit debates in Parliament and relying on a narrative that if Budget 2021 was not passed, then civil service salaries and aid for the people would be delayed.

"I have explained before this that if the Budget isn't passed, it will not stop the salaries, pensions and allowances of civil servants. The same goes for welfare.

"Financial distribution without passing the Budget happened in 1999 during Budget 2000.

"The government also chose not to explain that all expenses for civil servants and frontliners have been allocated till the end of January 2021," he added.

The former premier also criticised what he labelled as double standards when Keningau MP Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan was allowed to attend Parliament on Tuesday (Nov 24) despite not completing the mandatory 14-day quarantine rule after returning from Sabah.

If Budget 2021 isn't passed in Parliament, Dr Mahathir said it would prove that the government had lost legitimacy as it does not command a Parliamentary majority.

"When that happens, a dignified prime minister would resign. Next, in a normal situation, he could advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to dissolve Parliament.

"But when the country is facing the Covid-19 pandemic, we are facing an unprecedented situation and the experience of the Sabah state elections showed that a general election is not a choice.

"Therefore, the process that can be considered is to give a chance to the Parliament to decide which MPs have the majority," he said.

Dr Mahathir added that by allowing the Parliament to determine the next government, it could serve the country until the end of its current term until the 15th General Election.

This, said Dr Mahathir, would ensure that the new government had legitimacy and would not be questioned by the public.

"After the new government is formed, the government can choose to table a new Budget or maintain the rejected Budget and make some amendments to it.

"This can all be done in a special Parliamentary sitting and it will not take long," he said.

MPs linked to Pejuang comprise Dr Mahathir who is Langkawi MP, his son Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir (Jerlun), Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah (Kubang Pasu), Datuk Dr Shahruddin Md Salleh (Sri Gading).

Simpang Renggam MP Dr Maszlee Malik, who was earlier linked to Pejuang, had withdrawn as a committee member and declared himself an independent MP on Nov 2.

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 government requires a simple majority of 111 to pass Budget 2021 at the policy stage this Thursday (Nov 26).

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