Shahidan Begins to Shore up MPs’ Support for Budget

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Arau MP Shahidan Kassim has begun talks with 52 government backbenchers to shore up support in the Dewan Rakyat for the 2021 federal budget, to be tabled next month.


“I am in discussion with them on the coming budget,” he told FMT. “I am confident of their support as it is sought to help the government with Covid-19 and next year’s budget.”

Shahidan is chairman of the Dewan Rakyat backbenchers club, comprising MPs of the governing Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition who are not part of the administration.

He said he would go all out to assure all of them support the budget.

PN, with 50 seats in the 222-member Dewan Rakyat, commands the support of 112 MPs, through Barisan Nasional (43), GPS (18) and PBS (1).

The move comes amid fears of MPs grouping up to reject the budget, which would cause the fall of the Muhyiddin Yassin government. Such talk had arisen after Umno had threatened to withdraw support for the PN government because of unhappiness at its reduced role in the government ranks.

Shahidan did not divulge the initial reaction of MPs to his approaches but said all would support the budget as it would benefit the country. “Rejecting the budget is like rejecting the aid needed to fund the country during the pandemic,” he added.

The federal budget sets out the government’s sources of revenue and details of its projected expenditures next year on development and towards meeting the costs of administration.

It is scheduled to be tabled at the Dewan Rakyat on Nov 6, after which it would be open to debate, following which a vote would be taken. Failure to win approval would lead to the automatic resignation of the prime minister and the Cabinet.

Earlier today, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah rejected a government proposal for a state of emergency. He called for an end to political instability and gave a reminder on the importance of the federal budget. – FMT