Ku Li to abstain from budget debate

pic by BERNAMA

UMNO lawmaker Tengku Tan Sri Razaleigh Hamzah (picture) has opted to abstain from participating in the Budget 2021 debate, citing moral reasons, as questions on the legitimacy of the government remain unanswered.

Tengku Razaleigh, in a letter published on his social media yesterday, said the decision was made after Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun denied his request to allow a no-confidence motion to take precedence in the Parliament.

He said Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s government must first establish its legitimacy via a confidence vote before matters on government business are debated.

“To participate in the Dewan Rakyat on the question of the budget without first establishing the PM and his ministers’ legitimacy is to compromise on an important constitutional principle,” said Tengku Razaleigh, who is familiarly known as Ku Li.

The Gua Musang MP said members of the Dewan Rakyat, as an autonomous and independent institution, have a duty to uphold the Constitution and should not compromise any attempts of “political corruption” to maintain power.

Azhar had previously described the no-confidence motion as a private member’s bill that should give way to government agenda as stated in the standing orders. He suggested that a request be put forth to the Minister in the PM’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan to have the motion tabled.

Tengku Razaleigh, in response, argued that the question of the PM’s legitimacy is not a private matter. He also said Takiyuddin has no role whatsoever in determining whether a vote of confidence can be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat.

“To suggest that such an important issue is subject to the agreement of the minister of law is unconstitutional and a serious breach of the autonomy and independence of the Dewan Rakyat from any form of control by the executive,” Tengku Razaleigh said in the letter dated Nov 19, 2020, to Azhar.

The Umno stalwart first sought the no-confidence motion to be prioritised in a letter to Azhar on Sept 25. He said this must be done in the current Dewan Rakyat sitting, after the Speaker failed to do so in the previous session held from July 13 to Aug 27.

At that time, Tengku Razaleigh was referring to the motion submitted by Langkawi MP and former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. There are currently 25 private motions of no confidence against the PM.

The Budget 2021 vote is slated this Thursday and will double as a no-confidence motion against Muhyiddin. A defeat of the spending plan would be equivalent to a no-confidence vote and could plunge the country into another leadership crisis.

The august house will see only 220 MPs taking part in the voting session on the budget on Thursday, following the deaths of Gerik MP Datuk Hasbullah Osman and Batu Sapi MP Liew Vui Keong. The Dewan Rakyat session is scheduled to end on Dec 10.

Read our earlier report here

Tengku Razaleigh abstains from budget voting