KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 — Former political rivals Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah have today called for MPs to vote based on their conscience for the third reading of the Budget 2021 Bill tomorrow.
In a surprise joint press conference, both senior statesmen also alluded that the Perikatan Nasional government may lose the vote tomorrow and subsequently offered their expertise and experiences in public service to the possible new government.
“There is a possibility that when the vote for the third reading of the Budget 2021 bill, the government might lose tomorrow, if the government loses then I hope those is parliament will begin to think not about themselves but about the nation.
“We need to see a government that is not motivated by ‘what can we get’ but instead what I can contribute towards developing the nation, that is the objective,” former prime minister Dr Mahathir said.
The duo also lamented the current political instability which they claimed is exacerbating a sluggish economy already affected by the very trying Covid-19 global pandemic, which they said can be resolved by forming a “good government” that prioritise the needs of the public first.
However, when pressed by members of the media, both MPs however said that they are not putting themselves to head the new government if one is formed.
Dr Mahathir had also denied that he is working behind the scenes in garnering support to form a new government.
Tengku Razaleigh, or better known as Ku Li, also stated that he had cooperated with Dr Mahathir on the grounds that the country is in dire need of new management to helm it during these trying times in an effort to revitalise the nation as an “Asian Tiger”.
“The current government is weak, with only two majority. When the government is weak, then there is no confidence in the government. When there is no confidence in the government then there will be no investment coming into the country, not to mention that this will lead to less revenue for the country and no growth and new jobs opportunity for the country.
“We hope we can fix these problems with what we have suggested,” said Tengku Razaleigh.
Last month, Budget 2021 was approved in the policy stage after Parliament approved it via a voice vote when fewer than the 15 lawmakers needed to force bloc-voting rose to make their rejection known.
Just 13 Opposition MPs including former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu stood up to try and force a bloc vote.
Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim later said he instructed his side’s lawmakers to allow Budget 2021 through the policy stage as he did not want to be seen as blocking aid and concessions announced by the Perikatan Nasional government.
He suggested then that Pakatan Harapan will oppose the Budget in the committee stage, but the effort has now been thwarted as all ministerial allocations have since been approved.