KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 — The government’s announcement to move up the Budget 2023 tabling in Parliament three weeks ahead of schedule is the clearest sign that Malaysia will be having its national election soon, according to Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman added that this is because Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is under immense pressure from party leaders in Umno where the latter is vice-president.
“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri has decided to table Budget 2023 three weeks earlier on October 7. He has the right to do so, and it is not unusual in our system.
“But what stands out is the open secret that he is receiving major pressure from Umno's leadership. We have a prime minister who has no power to make decisions, but to follow the direction of Umno leaders,” Anwar said in a video posted on his Facebook account this morning.
Anwar, who is also PKR president, said that the government had held discussions with PH in preparation for Budget 2023, as stipulated in the Memorandum of Understanding Transformation and Political Stability they had signed last year.
He added that the abrupt change in Budget 2023's tabling date only proves his assertion of an early general election.
“So it is safe for us to assume that this was done so that the prime minister can choose a date to call for elections. For us in PH, we have expected this, and our machinery has already started moving,” the Port Dickson MP said.
He made an open plea to Malaysians to choose “a stable government with a clear mandate so that this new leadership can focus their efforts on providing good governance, getting rid of corruption and other big issues like education, healthcare and digitalisation”.
Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who is in charge of parliamentary affairs and the law, announced the rescheduling of the Budget 2023 tabling from October 28 to October 7.
He explained that the decision was made by Ismail Sabri who used his authority under Rule 11(2) of the Dewan Rakyat’s Standing Order.
Ismail Sabri has not given any reason for the date change, only telling reporters who asked yesterday that it was “normal” to do so and citing the precedent by fifth prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The Dewan Rakyat sitting was initially scheduled to take place between October 28 and December 15.
The current government has until September next year to call a general election, but Umno leaders have been vocally pushing for polls to be held this year to leverage on the Barisan Nasional’s landslide victories in recent state elections in Johor and Melaka.