Spotlight on Budget 2021


PETALING JAYA: The Dewan Rakyat will come under the spotlight starting today, with all eyes on Budget 2021 and how it would fare in mitigating the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Even in the lead-up to the meeting, key events have taken place to set the scene for the unveiling and debate of the national budget on Friday.

One instance is the appointment of former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pic) as the Barisan Nasional backbenchers’ chairman.

The Pekan MP’s appointment in the Dewan Rakyat will enable him to coordinate matters among the Barisan Nasional backbenchers, especially as lawmakers meet to debate Budget 2021.

“Najib was appointed recently ahead of the important Parliament meeting so he can direct the Barisan backbenchers in the House, ” a news portal quoted sources as saying.

As the chairman, Najib will be able to decide the order of the Barisan debaters and relay instructions to them on what they should speak about during the debates.

The source also said Najib would be in a position to play a role in resolving the tension between Umno and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia. “He is experienced, so he can influence the parliamentarians, ” the source said.

Najib’s aide, when contacted by The Star, confirmed the appointment.

READ ALSO > What you need to know ahead of Budget 2021.

The Finance Ministry also met with Pakatan Harapan leaders in Putrajaya yesterday to discuss matters pertaining to Budget 2021.

PKR’s Subang MP Wong Chen, when contacted, said the joint consultative session involved selected Pakatan MPs, with an invitation extended to four representatives from each party.

Besides Wong Chen, those from PKR who attended were its secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, Youth chief Akmal Nasir and central leadership council member Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.

DAP was represented by its secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, national publicity secretary Tony Pua, national political education director Liew Chin Tong and assistant national education director Ong Kian Ming.

From Parti Amanah Negara, president Mohamad Sabu and strategic director Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad attended the meeting.

Prior to the meeting, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz also saw other Opposition MPs such as Parti Warisan Sabah deputy president Datuk Darell Leiking and Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, the co-founder of the new party Muda (Malaysian United Democratic Alliance), to discuss the Budget.

Tengku Zafrul said the Budget was an expansionary one and aimed at sectors which would potentially lead to multiplier effects in the economy.

He also said in an interview with Sinar Ahad that the government would be looking to government-linked companies (GLCs) to put forward a greater contribution in helping the country overcome economic challenges in light of the pandemic.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has also publicly vouched that Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) is prepared to lend its support to Budget 2021, but not before studying its content.

With the livelihoods of the rakyat riding on the success of Budget 2021, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has urged all MPs to set aside their political differences and ensure that the Budget is passed.

He has also promised the people that the Perikatan Nasional government will continue to find the best ways to manage the major health crisis plaguing the country.

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