Malaysia’s PM needs rivals to back budget
Malaysia’s king has told squabbling politicians to prioritise passing the measures needed to help the Southeast Asian nation weather the crisis.
But having survived with a 2-seat majority since coming to power in March, Muhyiddin’s position remains precarious as cracks became evident in his own coalition as the opposition made strong moves to replace him in recent weeks.
“Without the bipartisan support, it would appear that he risks sabotage from his supposedly friendly coalition partner, UMNO,” said Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow with Singapore’s Institute of International Affairs.
The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) is more used to running the country, and its leaders have become increasingly unhappy playing second fiddle to the premier’s smaller Bersatu party.
Meantime, the opposition Democratic Action Party, a predominantly ethnic Chinese party that emerged as the largest party in parliament due to the split among ethnic Malay parties, has said its support for the budget would depend on whether the government acceded to six demands. Those demands include an expansion of social security, an extension of bank loan moratoriums and wage subsidies, and guaranteed job creation.
The government has narrowed the budget’s focus to three key themes – public welfare, business continuity and economic resilience.