Budget vote: Give MOH more time to wind up, Opposition MPs urge Speaker

Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba. -filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition lawmakers had repeatedly appealed to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker for extending the time to listen to replies by the Health Ministry, to no avail.

Several lawmakers said it was critical for additional time to be given for MPs to seek clarification and even raise questions on the response by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.

Hannah Yeoh (PH-Segambut) appealed to Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Seri Mohd Rashid Hasnon to give more than the 20 minutes set for the ministerial winding up by Dr Adham.

Yeoh said the motion earlier in the day (Thursday Nov 26) by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan saying that today's sitting will not be adjourned until all ministerial replies on Budget 2021 at the policy stage are completed, had been approved.

"As such, there shouldn't be a time limit set for the Minister to answer. This Budget 2021 is to tackle the Covid-19 spread.

"Merely 20 minutes for the minister to wrap up is not enough especially when there are so many questions and clarifications," she said.

Datuk Dr Xavier Jayakumar (PH-Kuala Langat) said many MPs were not given the chance to debate during the policy stage, hence they should be allowed to interject and ask questions.

To this, Rashid said MPs are allowed to interject and seek clarification on the points that the minister is speaking on.

"However, this is not the time to debate, that is over. You are allowed to ask questions for clarifications, not debate," he said.

Rashid also said that the motion to not adjourn until all ministerial replies are done did not mean that the 20-minute limit is not applicable.

"In fact, we have extended more time for the Health Minister to reply," he said.

Yeoh then said it was not enough as this should not be "one-way traffic."

She said MPs should be allowed to debate, and Ministers should not be merely coming into the House to read out their answers.

Rashid then said the minister has finished his replies and he moved on to the next ministry.

However, RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) then cited the Standing Order and asked Rashid if a question on the Health director-general could be addressed by the Minister.

"I was sent out of the House because I defended the Health director-general (Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah) when he was criticised by Bintulu MP (Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing) for not visiting Sabah.

"We would like the Minister to respond on this matter," he added.

Rashid then asked the Minister if he wanted to respond but there was none forthcoming. The House then moved on to the next ministry's winding up session.

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