PETALING JAYA,Nov 20: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today hit at government leaders, telling them to stop trying to scare the people with baseless statements.
He said this in response to Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz’s remarks that Putrajaya will not be able to pay civil service salaries if the budget is not approved by the Dewan Rakyat.
“That statement aims to restrict MPs from carrying out their duties in ensuring the budget fulfils the interests of the people and not the ruling party’s interests,” said Mahathir.
He said Tengku Zafrul and other government leaders were being “very irresponsible” in making statements to “threaten” MPs to pass the budget despite its weaknesses.
“If this is the stand of the finance minister and government leaders, it means MPs need to give (the government) a blank cheque and support the budget.”
Yesterday, Mahathir’s party Pejuang said emoluments for civil servants and expenditures for frontliners, including medical and health equipment, will not be affected if the budget is rejected.
Citing Article 102, Pejuang said the Federal Constitution allows a new government replacing the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to table a fresh budget.
Other MPs and groups have also voiced their objection to the statement by Tengku Zafrul, with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim among the first to go on the attack.