You are here: Home » International » News » Politics
Business Standard

Malaysian PM gains political lifeline with 2021 budget approval

Parliament passed the budget by a voice vote, leaving it unclear exactly how many of the 222 lawmakers supported the government's first budget


Joseph Sipalan | Reuters  |  Kuala Lumpur 

Malaysia Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin
Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin won parliamentary approval for his government’s 2021 budget on Thursday, avoiding a potential political crisis in the midst of other crises brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Parliament passed the budget by a voice vote, leaving it unclear exactly how many of the 222 lawmakers supported the government’s first budget since Muhyiddin emerged as the leader of a new coalition in March.

The government tabled the country’s largest-ever budget three weeks ago, in a bid to bring the economy out of its first recession in over a decade and to manage the health fallout from Covid-19, as a spike in infections since September that has seen a fourfold rise in the caseload to nearly 60,000.

If parliament had rejected the budget it could have triggered a political crisis. It was the first real test for Muhyiddin’s wafer thin majority. His coalition has been beset by infighting, and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been impatient for a chance to test whether Muhyiddin still commanded support.

The Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange gained 0.3 per cent after the vote, while the ringgit strengthened by 0.2 per cent.

Parliament will now proceed to the committee stage debate which will focus on specific budget provisions for approval.

Muhyiddin had earlier called for cross-party support for the budget, after the king decreed that all lawmakers should give their full backing for the government’s spending plans as it tries to bolster an export-led economy that is suffering through the pandemic. Up until the budget vote, Muhyiddin had held a two-seat parliamentary majority but was buoyed by public approval for his early handling of the pandemic and support from the king, who in May upheld his appointment as premier.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Fri, November 27 2020. 02:52 IST