Finance Minister or deputies should attend budget debates in Parliament, says Azalina

File picture of Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz tabling Budget 2021 in the Dewan Rakyat on Nov 6.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Finance Minister or his deputies should attend Budget 2021 debates in Dewan Rakyat, says Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

"I agree with what YB R. S. N. Rayer (Jelutong-PH) said and I note that the Finance Minister (Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz) or his deputies should be present to listen," she said at the close of the Dewan Rakyat sitting on Wednesday (Nov 11).

Azalina said that she was merely bringing up Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun's previous directive on the matter that the minister or one of his deputies be present.

"I request the minister or his deputies, please sit in the House when debates are ongoing as it is an important issue concerning the budget," she added.

Azalina also noted that many ministers were also not present during debates, reminding them that they too need to listen to the issues raised on the budget.

“I know everyone is busy but the budget is an important issue. Yet, I don’t see any ministers here, ” she said.

Azalina was responding to Rayer’s earlier question why Tengku Zafrul and his deputies, Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri and Mohd Shahar Abdullah, were not present during budget debates.

Tengku Zafrul had tabled Budget 2021 last Friday (Nov 6) with 19 days set aside for debates and replies.

The budget will be voted on after debates and replies at the policy stage on Nov 23 and again on Dec 10 after debates at the committee stage before it is passed.

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