BUDGET VOTE: The fine line between political reality and political maturity

THERE were tense moments leading up to the vote on Budget 2021 in the Dewan Rakyat earlier today (Nov 26) as there were doubts over whether it would pass or not.

Uncertainty prior to the vote finally gave way to common sense, albeit with some concessions made that soothed the political aim of dissenters.

The risk of not getting the Budget passed would have been catastrophic on many levels. Politically, it would ratchet up the simmering issue of stability in the country, but more damage would have been inflicted on the nascent recovery Malaysia is undertaking.

The huge spending plans were to ensure Malaysia’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic would not be interrupted. Any relapse in the fight against the disease would mean stumbles like what we have experienced with the resumption of the conditional MCOs seen in many parts of the country.

No federal budget is perfect in the measures and spending plans put forward, but in ensuring that the government continues to function, the actual winner is actually the people.

Bipartisan support in getting the Budget approved showed some semblance of political maturity born of political reality, and given how fragile and fluid the situation currently is, having parties from different sides of the aisle come together is a welcomed revelation.

Checks and balances would certainly be a feature over how the Budget 2021 is going to be spent as a tacit approval would certainly not mean a lapse in vigilance.

But with the government being transparent over how it has been channelling the funds to lift the economy out of the pandemic-induced depth, then the hope is to expect much of that ongoing transparency to continue.

With the mammoth RM322.5bil Budget 2021 now on the way to being deliberated at the Dewan Negara, like all finance bills, the question now is getting that money to start working for the people.

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