KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today the Opposition has effectively endorsed the ruling Perikatan Nasional’s legitimacy by allowing Budget 2021 to be provisionally approved yesterday
The former prime minister also rejected arguments such as those of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that federal lawmakers could still challenge Budget 2021 at the committee stage starting Monday.
“Opposing at the committee stage, as what is said would be done, will bring no significant meaning to the government or the Budget presented.
“This is only to deflect the criticism of Malaysians disappointed with the attitude of the Opposition,” he said in a statement today.
Yesterday, Dr Mahathir was among the 13 Opposition lawmakers who stood to try and force a division of the House during the vote on Budget 2021; a minimum of 15 MPs is needed to trigger this.
Anwar has since admitted that he directed Pakatan Harapan parties not to support any bid for a division although Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and his party’s lawmakers disregarded this and joined Dr Mahathir in the attempt.
Today, Dr Mahathir questioned the sincerity of the Opposition in resisting what he continued to dub the “backdoor government” of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyidddin Yassin and repeated his allegation that his side’s lawmakers have been bought off.
He said PN’s Budget 2021 appeared to not only gain the support of government lawmakers but also those from the Opposition despite their insistence that they were trying to push for a vote of no-confidence against Muhyiddin.
The Opposition had been expected to reject Budget 2021 as a proxy to a vote of no-confidence as, by convention, a failure of the federal Budget is considered a loss of majority support for the ruling party.
Dr Mahathir also pointed out that while at least 25 motions of no confidence were lodged with Parliament, just 13 Opposition lawmakers had stood up when it counted yesterday.
The former PM accused the Opposition of selling out on their own principles and playing off Malaysians’ support for their personal interests.
He also insisted that Budget 2021 was fundamentally flawed in its aim to help Malaysians and Malaysia recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and that allowing it to pass would doom the country.
Prior to the vote, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz announced several concessions to demands from both sides of the divide including extending the loan moratorium for all B40 income earners and small businesses as well as allowing eight million EPF contributors to withdraw up to RM10,000 from their Account 1 in one lump sum instead of RM6,000 over 12 months.
Parliament voted Budget 2021 through the policy stage via a voice vote as a result of the Opposition’s failure to force a division.