Umno MPs will press for GE but won’t reject 2021 budget, analysts predict

Two experts say Umno MPs will invite the wrath of civil servants if they reject Budget 2021. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Two analysts have given little weight to speculation that MPs from Umno will reject the federal budget to be tabled in Parliament next month to force an early general election.

They said the MPs would not want to invite the wrath of civil servants.

But they might try other means of trying to force an early election, they added.

James Chin of the University of Tasmania’s Asia Institute told FMT Umno MPs might continue to pressure Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to dissolve Parliament.

James Chin.

“They will make things difficult for him,” he said. “But they will support the budget.

“They may work with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim if they fail to pressure Muhyiddin.”

Chin also said Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who apparently supports the call for snap polls, still had the support of many Umno MPs due to his close ties with former prime minister Najib Razak.

Najib remained popular with the rural grassroots, he noted.

“Najib is a charmer. He knows how to mix with the rural crowd. Even though he is charged for corruption, those who meet him are quite mesmerised by the way he treats them.”

Chin said he had asked rural youths whether Najib had given them money to get their support. “They said no. They support Bossku.”

He said Zahid also knew how to charm the grassroots. “His Malay grassroots support in rural areas is also strong.”

Such popularity with the grassroots, he said, ensured Zahid the support of Umno MPs and he might use his influence to put pressure on Muhyiddin to call for a general election.

Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani.

Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani of Universiti Utara Malaysia agreed with Chin, saying rejecting the budget would make the MPs “look bad as they will be delaying the salaries of civil servants for 2021″.

He said it was now a “waiting game” for Malaysians until the Yang di-Pertuan Agong granted an audience to Anwar.

Anwar announced last week he had the numbers to form a government and that the King had agreed to meet him. Istana Negara confirmed that the meeting had been agreed upon but said it had to wait until the King was out of hospital.

Azizuddin said Umno and PAS were keen for an early election and this was why some MPs from Umno would support Anwar.