Sabah Umno vows to back Zahid ahead of Budget 2021 vote

Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is pictured at Hilton Kuala Lumpur for a meeting with Perikatan Nasional leaders November 1, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is pictured at Hilton Kuala Lumpur for a meeting with Perikatan Nasional leaders November 1, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KOTA KINABALU, Nov 23 — As a split emerges in Umno on whether or not to support Budget 2021, Sabah Umno has pledged today its full support to its president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Sabah Umno communications director Ghazalie Ansing said that the chapter has full confidence in Ahmad Zahid’s leadership and would support him in any decision he makes.

“Umno’s strength all this while is in its slogan of ‘Bersatu, Bersetia, Berkhidmat’ (United, Loyalty, Service), so in our struggle, we must always support the president to lead.

“In challenging times like the ones we are facing now, harsh criticism like those of our president’s need to be supported to ensure the people’s burdens are lightened,” he said in a statement here.

“Sabah Umno urges all other states to stand behind its president after we had been through hard times like the 2018 GE loss,” he said, referring to the 14th general election.

Sabah Umno has two MPs, chairman Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin, who is Kinabatangan MP, and Kimanis MP Datuk Mohamad Alamin.

In the recent Budget 2021 debate in Parliament, Ahmad Zahid had said there could be improvements made to the budget and said there was still time to make adjustments.

Despite previously saying all 43 BN MPs will pledge their support for Budget 2021, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin said that MPs should be allowed to break ranks and support, reject or abstain on the vote on the budget based on their conscience.

Umno veteran Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah had also called on MPs to think about their constituents’ interests and not merely adhere to party orders when deciding which way to vote, which has led to BN secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa criticising the former’s remarks as a “personal view”, going on to issue a warning to Umno MPs that those thinking of voting against the party line risked electoral consequences.

The Perikatan Nasional coalition under Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has a thin majority in Parliament and there has been speculation that Umno MPs might vote against the budget on Thursday, indirectly meaning a vote against the prime minister.

A vote against the budget may eventually result in snap polls for the country.

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