Anwar Ibrahim Has Reached The End of The Road In His Bid To Become The Next Prime Minister

(The Coverage) – A political analyst sees the passage of the 2021 budget through the committee stage as signalling that Anwar Ibrahim has reached the end of the road in his bid to become the next prime minister.

Former Universiti Teknologi Malaysia lecturer Azmi Hassan told FMT it had now been shown that the opposition leader’s support was limited to the 108 MPs who voted against the budget.

The annual national budget was passed at the committee stage after its third reading yesterday, with 111 voting for it and one abstaining.

“This is the main reason why Anwar was hesitant to call for bloc voting on the bill during the first reading,” Azmi said. “If he had had his way, he would also have been against bloc voting in the third reading.”

He also noted that Umno had ignored a call for MPs to vote with their conscience instead of on party lines.

The call was made by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah at a press conference on Monday.

All the MPs from Umno, except for Tengku Razaleigh, voted for the budget.

During the press conference, the two political veterans said the country needed a government that genuinely cared for the people and the development of the nation, hinting that they were seeking the fall of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration.

Mahathir added that he would refuse to work with former prime minister Najib Razak in any new government setup.

“When Dr Mahathir said he would not work with Najib, I think that’s the turning point,” Azmi said. “The bigger message, not only from Umno but Pakatan Harapan too, is that time is up for both” Mahathir and Tengku Razaleigh.

But he also said the 111 votes for the budget could not be seen as determining whether Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had majority support in the Dewan Rakyat.

Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya agreed, saying support for the budget should be seen separately from support for the prime minister.

He said Muhyiddin’s strength as prime minister could be proven only through a vote of no confidence.

However, he added that the slim majority vote for the budget showed that PN’s position was unstable and unpredictable.

But he also said PN might be able to last until the time came around for the next election if it succeeded in making offers of political favours in return for support.

He told FMT he believed the opposition would make another attempt for an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to hand over statutory declarations of opposition to Muhyiddin’s continued tenure as prime minister.

Voting for the budget to guarantee public welfare and to avoid a government shutdown was not the same as a vote of no confidence against Muhyiddin, he added.