KUALA LUMPUR – Following weeks of uncertainty, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s first federal budget – the biggest in the country’s history – cleared a final hurdle to be ratified by Parliament on Tuesday (Dec 15), after surviving a parliamentary vote.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s government was backed by 111 MPs, compared with 108 MPs who voted against it, after a division voting procedure was triggered by the federal opposition.
The RM322.5 billion (S$105 billion) budget will now be sent to the Upper House, the Senate, to be ratified, before coming into effect.
However, Upper House approvals are generally a formality in the Malaysian legislature.
The victory for Mr Muhyiddin comes on the back of renewed doubts regarding his majority in the week preceding the final budget vote.
Earlier this week, speculation was once again rife that opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim had managed to secure the backing of several government MPs from Umno to undo Mr Muhyiddin’s majority, although this was subsequently denied by Parti Keadilan Rakyat communications chief Fahmi Fadzil.
Datuk Seri Anwar, the PKR president, has been claiming parliamentary majority for the past three months and even had an audience with Malaysia’s King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, in October to convince the ruler of his majority claim.
On Monday, Mr Muhyiddin’s predecessor, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, also indicated possible failure of the budget while announcing that he was teaming up with a senior government MP, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, to offer forming a government should the budget fail.
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