Why did the Opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, tell Opposition MPs to approve the budget, yesterday?
After the intense build-up in the past few weeks urging Malaysians to reject the budget, Anwar’s shock announcement on the day MPs voted, enraged Malaysians. What is his hidden agenda?
Malaysians are neither blind nor daft. If a fiscal plan looks bad, they will speak up.
MPs are elected to act in the best interests of the people. Why should they give their blanket approval and hand Zafrul a blank cheque, just because they were urged by the King, to support the budget? Many Malaysians would rather their MPs were not bullied by the Finance Minister.
The use of emotive language by the Finance Minister, to urge MPs to approve the Budget, only shows that Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz is desperate.
Zafrul’s emotionally charged language, “the Budget that can help the country” and “there is no reason for it not to be approved or rejected” are value added words that are meant to make you feel and act in a certain way.
He then transferred the blame onto anyone who might reject his budget.
Zafrul said, “If it’s (the budget) rejected, in terms of the economy, we will not be able to fund the government’s commitments, including disbursing aid to the people.”
In other words, if the frontliners and civil servants fail to be paid, and if projects for the needy fall short of funding, it is not his fault, but the fault of the MPs who did not approve his budget.
This tactic of pinning the blame on others is an ego-defence mechanism. It is also a subtle method of justifying an ill-thought out Budget by using the “it wasn’t me” ploy.
Emotional blackmail is a potent Malay tool, and in my conversations with many Malays about the 4 Rs (race, religion royalty and rasuah), emotion features strongly in their psyche.
However, emotive words will not help Zafrul resolve his towering budget deficit.
Zafrul’s press conference, during which he urged the Dewan Rakyat to approve his budget revealed more about him and PN, than he could have realised.
The PN administration has been a source of discontent and many Umno-Baru politicians have also turned against Muhyiddin Yassin. Ordinary Malaysians, observe an increasingly arrogant and insecure Umno-Baru/PAS/PN leadership, which blames the DAP, or non-Malays for their own failures. Instead of engaging with other Malaysians, many Malay leaders encourage Malay conservatism to grow stronger by the day.
Like his leader, Muhyiddin, it appears that Zafrul is out of touch with most ordinary Malaysians. So can it get any worse for Zafrul? Undoubtedly.
Businesses are increasingly disillusioned with him because of his aloofness. Small businesses are the backbone of the nation’s economy. Alienating many Chinese owned businesses, which employ thousands of Malays, will backfire on Zafrul. If the businesses are forced into bankruptcy and close, Malay employees will also suffer.
Opposition MPs lack confidence in Zafrul’s lacklustre leadership of the Finance Ministry. Why does JASA need RM85.5 million for spreading propaganda? Why are the nation’s health, agricultural sector, educational and food security concerns not properly addressed? Why does JAKIM need a boost of RM1.4 billion?
Malaysians have no faith in Zafrul’s qualities as Finance Minister. He fails to inspire the rakyat.
The same goes for Anwar Ibrahim and other Harapan party leaders.
Shame on them!