THE Prime Minister’s Department withdrew Langkawi MP Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s parliamentary allocation, two days after fellow Pakatan Harapan lawmaker Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman reported the same withdrawal to his Muar constituency.
The former prime minister’s aide confirmed the matter.
“Not just in Langkawi but the federal allocation for the whole of Kedah, although we do not know about the status of other states controlled by PH,” he told The Malaysian Insight.
“I also understand that there is still no final decision on the allocation,” the officer said.
The Malaysian Insight tried to contact Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir, who is Jerlun MP, on the situation in Kedah but has yet to receive a reply.
Last Friday, Syed Saddiq said he received confirmation that his constituency was not listed for its annual allocation as a parliamentarian.
The information was conveyed to him by the implementation coordination unit (ICU), which is under the Prime Minister’s Department, that Muar will no longer receive such funds.
Lembah Pantai’s Fahmi Fadzil said his constituency, too, will no longer receive such funds.
Perikatan Nasional took power earlier this month after PH was ousted through defections and plotting to form a Malay-Muslim coalition.
Although Syed Saddiq and Mukhriz are still in Bersatu, the party of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, they did not support the latter as prime minister, backing Dr Mahathir instead.
Bersatu, which Muhyiddin pulled out of PH, is now facing an internal crisis following the change of government as it faces party elections and discord over the manner it formed the new government with PAS and Umno.
Dr Mahathir, although still a Bersatu member and its chairman, rejected Muhyiddin’s government and any move to work with Umno.
Part of Bersatu as ‘opposition’
A source in the PN said the move to stop the allocation to PH lawmakers is “normal”.
“It is government SOP not to allow any allocation for MPs in the opposition bloc.
“When PH was in power, allocation for Barisan Nasional MPs was stopped, too. There was only funding for the state assembly or the parliamentary coordinator,” said the source.
Dr Mahathir and Syed Saddiq can be regarded as “opposition” since they have rejected the PN government.
“Although the two are Bersatu members which is part of the government, they are not supporting Perikatan.
“This is because the Perikatan government was not formed by party bloc but by parliamentary vote.
“So, any MP who does not support the government, even if he is part of a government party, is considered as opposition.”
Fahmi, meanwhile, said it’s clear these moves are political in nature as they’re made against MPs who support Dr Mahathir.
He realised Lembah Pantai’s allocation was stopped last week when he could no longer access online budget applications.
“Usually allocations will be based on an MP’s applications and in the current situation, when we are fighting Covid-19, MPs do need the funds to help their constituents,” Fahmi said.
To access the funds, MPs are to key in their application through the ICU’s website. They receive a disbursal of the allocation in cheque form for organisations within their constituencies.
The constituency allocation is used for small infrastructure projects, direct grants to civil society organisations and community associations, and for emergency assistance.
Johor Baru MP Akmal Nasir from PKR also faced the same problem, leading to the abrupt cancellation of several programmes.
He and other PH federal lawmakers are looking at alternatives, including starting their own funding initiatives to help constituents face the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Some of us have started initiatives such as food banks for those in our constituency, food delivery services and others.”
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT