Will Muhyiddin remain as Prime Minister next Thursday on 26th November 2020?

Will Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin remain as the eighth Prime Minister of Malaysia next Thursday on 26th November or will he become the shortest Prime Minister in the history of Malaysia?

He will not be Prime Minister next Thursday if the 2021 Budget is defeated in the second reading vote in Parliament, expected on Wednesday 25th November 2020.

Yet he does not seem to be doing anything to ensure that the 2021 Budget is passed although the Opposition Members of Parliament are mindful of the advice of the Yang di Pertuan Agong and the Malay Rulers that in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysians must show unprecedented unity to get the 2021 Budget passed..

Will the 2021 Budget be adopted by Malaysians if there is a national referendum on it?

I am quite doubtful, as the 2021 Budget is an ordinary Budget in extraordinary times when it should be an extraordinary budget in extraordinary times.

What is worse, it would appear that the Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz is taking advantage of both the extraordinary times of a Covid-19 epidemic and the advice of the Yang di Pertuan Agong and the Malay Rulers and is asking for a blank cheque from Members of Parliament when he should be making the 2021 Budget a historic one - an extraordinary budget crafted with the suggestions from all quarters to make it a “unity” budget in extraordinary times.

Instead, we have a 2021 Budget which wants even to smuggle in a revival of the infamous Special Affairs Department (JASA) with a walloping vote of RM85.5 million allocation.

It has now been revealed by the MP for Kluang, Wong Shu Qi, that JASA operated a secret budget under the Najib administration to the tune of some RM80 million a year, avoiding the public scrutiny and Parliament’s oversight.

Why is the JASA Director-General Puad Zakarshi maintaining his elegant silence?

I don’t think Tengku Zafrul knows much about JASA and its secret operations and unless there is a specific directive from the Prime Minister that these secret provisions should be deleted, there would be any amendment to the 2021 Budget.

The 2021 Budget should be an extraordinary budget to unite Malaysians in extraordinary times of Covid-19 pandemic, and not an ordinary budget to secrete special allocations to avoid public scrutiny and parliamentary oversight.

It may be that Muhyiddin is being blackmailed or arm-twisted to prevent him from making the 2021 Budget an extraordinary budget in extraordinary times, and if so, there is nothing “unity” , “national” or “extraordinary” about the 2021 Budget.

This will be a critical test of the character of the eighth Prime Minister of Malaysia!

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri