PKR president and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim might not have risen to the occasion in either defeating or mounting opposition to the Budget 2021.
He might have missed an opportunity to raise the profile and vision of Pakatan Harapan (PH) on the future of the country.
In short, he allowed the backdoor government the little window to legitimise itself.
The present attempts on the part of the opposition to do damage control might not simply work.
PH has been terribly undermined in the eyes of supporters and those who believe that there is dire need for an alternative government.
Anwar’s prevarication of giving credit to the government in terms of possible changes to the budget and the last-minute advice to the MPs to desist from standing up against the budget wrecked colossal damage on the integrity and reputation of the opposition.
The moral fibre was exemplified in the 13 MPs who stood up to say no to the budget.
Whatever happened to the fighters in the PH? Were they wrongly advised?
Apparently, Anwar is taking the blame for what happened.
Anwar is a well-read person. He should have adhered to the famous philosophical axiom that men do not make history under the circumstances of their choice but from circumstances that present themselves.
The opportunity to oppose the budget, win or lose, what was something that was present for the opposition to take advantage.
But they faltered except one or two who broke ranks to stand up.
It did not really matter whether PH had the numbers or not. The very thought of getting Umno support was nothing but hogwash.
Defeat or no defeat of the budget, there was an excited expectation that PH would take the bull by its horns to loudly proclaim to the whole world that the budget was not acceptable despite the sugar coating.
I find it totally abhorrent to accept the argument in damage control that the Perikatan Nasional government was about the bring positive changes to the budget.
Anwar said the PN government was so desperate of losing the budget that they were prepared to make major concessions.
What were the major concessions?
Is reducing the money allocated to the Special Affairs Department (Jasa) a major concession?
This is a laughing matter.
I am not sure whether it was PH or PN that was desperate. The politics of appeasement might have come from Anwar.
All kinds of arguments could be advanced to argue why the opposition declined a bloc vote and why they ended up supporting the budget at the policy realm.
Anwar and others are still arguing that all is not lost in the move against the budget.
The opposition has not given up the fight and preparing to grill the government when the budget gets to the committee stage where the allocation might be considered in parts.
Yes, the government might have gone past the policy stage, but victory is still far off, or even the prospect of defeat.
The opposition is trying to convince the public not to give up, the budget matter is still on the firing line.
I am not saying that the opposition might not have the ability to fully scrutinise the budget in its different manifestations, but whether the budget will be rejected or not remains to be seen.
Some would say that it is a foregone conclusion that the budget might see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Seriously, for allowing the budget to get past the policy stage was the fault of the opposition in general and Anwar in particular.
I understand that it was the last-minute decision by Anwar that caught many MPs unprepared and confused to the extent of not going for bloc vote.
But yet, the 13 MPs stood to be counted to say no to the budget.
I am not sure how PH is going to move forward given this budget imbroglio.
Only early this year that PH was ousted as a ruling party.
As though this was not bad enough, the coalition seems to have fumbled on the budget badly. – TMI
The views expressed here are strictly those of deputy Penang chief minister II, P Ramasamy.