Will the 2021 Budget be rejected tomorrow and will Muhyiddin be toppled becoming the shortest Prime Minister in Malaysian history?

Tomorrow is supposed to be the D-Day for two questions: Will the 2021 Budget be rejected tomorrow and will Muhyiddin Yassin be toppled becoming the shortest Prime Minister in Malaysian history.

It is uncertain whether there will be a vote on the second reading of the 2021 Budget tomorrow as there is talk that the vote, scheduled for tomorrow may be delayed till the following week.

Be that as it may, powerful political forces have been released over the voting on the 2021 Budget, as evidenced by the most extraordinary joint statement by Ministers and Deputy Ministers declaring full support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin’s leadership until fresh general election can be held because of the Covid-19 epidemic.

It may be asked why it was necessary for the Ministers and Deputy Ministers to issue such an extraordinary joint statement, as it was nothing but asking Parliament to continue to enable them to be Ministers and Deputy Ministers, but it is nonetheless an expression of their desperation and tacit acknowledgement that nobody, not even Muhyiddin, enjoys confidence of a clear majority of Members of Parliament.

The real players in the present byzantine political plotting are the UMNO MPs, split between those who want to topple Muhyiddin as Prime Minister and those who are committed to the Perikatan Nasional government until the Covid-19 epidemic is brought under control for the 15th General Election to be held.

As a result the UMNO faction which wants to topple Muhyiddin as Prime Minister is sending out feelers to several people who thought that the political imbroglio would give them an opportunity to become Prime Minister.

But these are fantasies and delusions as the UMNO leadership do not want others to be the Prime Minister, but one of their kind to be the Prime Minister.

At stake today is not only the 2021 Budget and Muhyiddin’s backdoor government but the vision of what Malaysia should be.

Nine months of Perikatan Nasional government has shown its difference with the 22 month Pakatan Harapan government, with Perikatan Nasional regressing to the kleptocratic and kakistocratic past of the Barisan Nasional government, which was toppled by the voters of Malaysian voters in the 14th general election on May 9, 2018.

The following regression which took place in the nine months of Perikatan Nasional government would either never have occurred or thoroughly abhorrent to the spirit of the 22-month Pakatan Harapan government:

  • The passing of an amendment to the Pahang state constitution creating five unelected State Legislative Assembly members, which is putting the clock of democracy back in Malaysia;
  • The revival of the Special Affairs Department (JASA) with a huge allocation of RM85.5 million to continue to perpetuate JASA’s despicable demonization of DAP as anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-Royalty, the glamorisation of corruption scandals and abuses of power and to disseminate disinformation in the highly-funded campaign of hate, fear, race and religion;
  • Police intimidation and harassament of student organisations and NGOs, like the president of the University of Malaya Association of New Youth (Umany) and other student leaders;
  • The new ruling or guideline introduced by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) on the liquor licence prohibiting all sundry shops and convenient stores from selling liquors commencing on Oct 1, 2021;
  • The elevation of the toxic politics of hate, fear, race and religion into a national ideology; and
  • Finally, the retreat in the battle against corruption in high public places. I expect a worse ranking and score in the Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2020 when it is released in two months’ time.

While tomorrow may be the D-Day for 2021 Budget and Muhyiddin as the eighth Prime Minster of Malaysia, we must never forget the feat of Malaysians on May 9, 2018 because they wanted a New Malaysia as a world top class nation capable of leveraging on the best of the diverse races, languages, cultures and civilisations that meet in confluence in Malaysia to gain international respect and admiration as a successful nation which leads the world in unity, democracy, justice, freedom, excellence and integrity, and not scorned as a global kleptocracy and kakistocracy hurtling towards a failed state.

Has such a dream for a New Malaysia been lost forever?

Is Malaysia condemned to be a kleptocracy, kakistocracy and a failed state?

This is a question all Malaysians must dare to ask and find answers.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri