Strategic Ceasefire

A handful of UMNO Leaders and grassroot members are unhappy with President Dato’ Sri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s unilateral announcement of ‘Ceasefire’ on 21 October 2020 being seen as weak and pandering further into being ‘bullied’ by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin.

However it is quite the opposite as the ‘Ceasefire’ provided more room and opportunity for President Zahid to manoeuvre and move his lot around, which would make Prime Minister Muhyiddin and PPBM subservient to UMNO.

The Vibes story:

Is ‘Abah’ afraid of a budget defeat?

Analysts argue that chances of cancelling the 2021 federal allocation bill are very slim

Updated 2 hours ago · Published on 23 Oct 2020 6:51AM · 0 CommentsFacebookTwitterEmailWhatsAppWeChatPrint

Measures related to the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to be the main topic of discussion during the special cabinet meeting that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has called for today. – Facebook filepic, October 23, 2020

BY

Emmanuel Samarathisa

KUALA LUMPUR – Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s call for a special cabinet meeting today comes at a time when the scuttlebutt is rife with talk of political change and intrigue.

People familiar with the matter, however, say that the prime minister is expected to discuss a litany of issues with regard to support for the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, and with measures related to the coronavirus pandemic being high up on the agenda.

This is because Muhyiddin – who refers to himself as “Abah” or father in Malay – is expected to face a serious test of leadership when the Dewan Rakyat tables Budget 2021 on November 6, a source said.

Unlike previous prime ministers, Muhyiddin leads by a razor-thin majority in Parliament (112 to 114 of 222 seats – although Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim now claims to command a 121-seat majority).

Failing to get his budget approved is tantamount to a no-confidence vote, and therefore a collapse in government.

Malaysia watcher James Chin believes Umno will be the basis of Muhyiddin’s ability to get next year’s federal allocation passed. If the Barisan Nasional (BN) keystone backs the prime minister, “the chances of having his budget defeated are very slim”, he said.

Also, such defeat has “never happened before in Malaysia”, added Chin, director of the Asia Institute, University of Tasmania.

“What a lot of people don’t realise is that you can still make very last-minute changes to the budget within the first and third readings. So if Muhyiddin thinks he is going to lose, he is going to add in a few items to please Umno. So chances of him being defeated are very, very slim.”

Successive governments have come close to having allocations cancelled albeit at the ministry-level.

BN was almost defeated by one vote after it debated the 2018 allocation for the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry, while Pakatan Harapan (PH) was only able to push through this year’s allocation for the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry by four votes.

Political observers are not the only ones who believe Muhyiddin has a fighting chance. Capital market participants also argue that they have not priced in such a defeat.

“Investors assume Umno will back the budget bill,” said a fund manager. Should Muhyiddin lose in the august house, the fund manager added, “Malaysia can expect another degree of uncertainty.”

Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Azmil Mohd Tayeb said: “The implication is clear if the budget bill is defeated.”

Muhyiddin’s government, the political scientist added, no longer commanded the majority. 

“He should step down and let the Yang di-Pertuan Agong appoint the one who has the majority as per the constitutional convention.” – The Vibes, October 23, 2020

**********************

On 14 October 2020 after the UMNO Political Bureau meeting, Presiden Zahid announced they “might consider to pull out from the Perikatan Nasional Government and would put forth a set of new terms”, which is the flimsy platform that put Prime Minister Muhyiddin in power.

That shook the ground, already swelling for the UMNO grassroots unhappy feelings of PPBM ‘bullying’ UMNO around after the latter lends the biggest chunk of power when enabled PPBM President Muhyiddin to be sworn in as Prime Minister VIII on 29 Feb 2020.

In reciprocity, PPBM Secretary General and Home Minister Dato’ Sri Hamzah Zainuddin arrogantly asked UMNO to submit in writing their grievances and demands.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin has exactly two weeks left to get his party Whip cracking and consolidate the support towards him or otherwise the Bill for Budget 2021expected to be tabled on 6 November 2020 would not be passed by the Dewan Rakyat.

This is the worst scenario of the ongoing political impasse this Pakatan Harapan has been trying to get Prime Minister VII Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to retire and handover to then heir-apparent Dato’ Sri Anwar Ibrahim, since December 2019.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir summarily resigned on 24 Feb 2020 and the void created an impasse where UMNO enbloc decided to nominate PPBM President Muhyiddin as the Prime Minister.

It was a proposal accepted by His Majesty SPB YDP Agong XVI and Muhyiddin was sworn in as the Prime Minister VIII on 29 Feb 2020.

If the Bajet 2021 Bill is not passed by Dewan Rakyat, it would lead to the shutdown of the Federal Government comes 1 Jan 2021, amidst the the growing global Covid-19 pandemic crisis.

The Ceasefire announces by President Zahid is allow more room and opportunity for UMNO to play a more strategic and probably a senior part role in the current Federal Government, until the people goes back to the polls.

Published in: on October 23, 2020 at 11:00  Leave a Comment  

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