KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Saturday (Oct 31) called on all Members of Parliament to set aside their political differences to ensure that budget 2021 is passed to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Let us prioritise the people's interest above all other interests," said Mr Muhyiddin in a televised address.
"A form of understanding can be framed amongst MPs to ensure budget 2021 is passed with both government and opposition MP support."
This is Mr Muhyiddin’s first live broadcast to the nation since the king rejected his proposal on Oct 25 to declare an emergency in Malaysia, in light of rising COVID-19 cases and political instability.
Parliament is set to reconvene on Monday and Mr Muhyiddin's first budget is due to be presented on Nov 6.
The king had urged MPs to give "solid support" to the budget for the sake of the people’s wellbeing and the country’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Muhyiddin stated that the budget would set out various allocations to government agencies, aid for the people and incentives for the corporate, industrial and business sectors.
In his address on Saturday, Mr Muhyiddin also raised the issue of the upcoming Batu Sapi parliamentary by-election in Sabah, as well as the Sarawak state elections.
"In the special National Security Council meeting I chaired today (Saturday), the Election Commission secretary informed me many election workers stated their worry of serving in Batu Sapi by-election, for fear of being infected," he said.
Mr Muhyiddin added that it is difficult to restrict the movement of voters, even those in red zones, from going to a green zone where they were registered to vote, as it is their constitutional right.
"Only if emergency is declared under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution in Batu Sapi and Sarawak, then we can postpone these two elections until COVID-19 ends," he said.
"If elections cannot be postponed for any reason, my plea to the residents in Batu Sapi and Sarawak is to be careful. Take care of yourselves and heed the standard operating procedures with discipline when elections are held," he said.
Malaysia has registered 30,889 COVID-19 cases so far, with 799 new cases and three deaths reported on Friday.
The majority of cases have been in Sabah, with 14,053 cases and 114 deaths.
Meanwhile, Johor Bahru district has been declared a COVID-19 red zone, an area with 41 cases or more in a span of two weeks.