PKR MP: Don’t blindly vote ‘yes’ on Budget, use leverage to push for reforms

PETALING JAYA: A PKR MP is urging his fellow Opposition MPs to not blindly vote “yes” to the upcoming Budget 2021, but to use what leverage they have to push for reforms.

Subang MP Wong Chen (pic) said while there might be those in the Opposition who would want to ensure the country had the financial resources to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, they should also make sure Budget 2021 was not used to simply prop up the current Cabinet.

“I would suggest that the Pakatan Harapan leadership consider using the Budget vote to trade for much-needed democratic reforms.

“Not less than three days ago, the same prime minister had attempted to shackle Parliament with the Emergency move. Fortunately, the rulers in their collective wisdom rejected the move and saved democracy.

“So isn’t it just a little bit bonkers to rush to offer a budget vote olive branch to the same prime minister immediately after his failed Emergency move?,” he posted on Facebook on Wednesday (Oct 28).

Wong also said that since Umno had said it would continue to support Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, he did not need the support of the Opposition to pass the Budget.

“If Umno is true to its words, Perikatan Nasional no longer needs Opposition votes for the Budget,” he said.

However, he also warned that Malaysian politics was full of surprises and Umno could always retract its support, while some in the Opposition might also prove to be “wolves in sheep’s clothing”.

“Parliamentary convention demands that if a government is defeated in a money bill, it has no choice but to resign.

“The Budget vote is the mother of all money bills. If the prime minister loses this vote, he has to resign and his government will collapse,” Wong suggested.

Since Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun had already declared that a no- confidence vote could only happen in Parliament with the support of the law minister from the government, Wong said the Budget vote was the only weapon the Opposition has left “to test the legitimacy of the government”.

“We must consider using this as an all-important bargaining chip to obtain some much needed reforms to save democracy.

“On the very top of my list of democratic reforms is to give an unfettered right to the Opposition to table a vote of no-confidence in Parliament.

“Second is a signed undertaking by the Cabinet to pass the Parliamentary Services Act in the March 2021 session to make Parliament financially and administratively independent from executive control,” he said.

Wong noted that the Opposition has more than a month to carry out its plan as the final vote on Budget 2021 will take place on Dec 10.

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