Anwar: PN govt not out of the woods yet

KUALA LUMPUR: After Budget 2021 was passed with a simple voice vote at the policy stage, opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim hinted that the Perikatan Nasional government was still not out of the woods.

While acknowledging that other opposition MPs, namely Kota Raja MP Mohamad Sabu, had strong views against Budget 2021, Anwar said he appealed to the Amanah president to “allow Budget 2021 to go on”.

“This is to avoid bloc voting so we can still continue (debating the Budget). There is no guarantee that it won’t be approved.

“Next Monday when Budget 2021 is at the committee stage, it will be further deliberated at length. We will certainly choose to reject and call for a revision when it’s deemed necessary, ” he said at the Parliament lobby.

Anwar was speaking to reporters after attending a meeting with DAP and PKR MPs after Budget 2021 was passed in Parliament via a simple voice vote.

Present at the press conference were top DAP leaders including Lim Guan Eng, Anthony Loke and Gobind Singh Deo.

“Whether it will be approved or not at the final third reading (committee stage), there is no indication by us that we are not pursuing the agenda, ” he said, referring to the reform agenda.

Anwar also acknowledged that Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz had taken several measures when he announced the amendments made in Budget 2021.

The Port Dickson MP, however, slammed Tengku Zafrul for providing vague details on allocations in his winding up speech.

“The minister is expected to at least tabulate numbers and figures. He just said no increase (in funds). How can you say no increase when you spend millions?” he questioned.

Anwar also slammed Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun for being “blatantly biased” when chairing the meeting.

“Speaker, please use your responsibility and power and ensure that there are adequate avenues for MPs to express their views, ” he added.

Earlier in Parliament, Amanah’s Pokok Sena MP Datuk Mahfuz Omar had called for a block vote. However, only 13 MPs stood up to support the move.

For a bloc vote to be triggered, not less than 15 lawmakers must be seen standing in support, failing which the Speaker would announce results of the earlier voice vote.

Meanwhile, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad chided his opposition colleagues for purportedly supporting the Perikatan government after Mahfuz stood up in the House to call for a bloc vote.

“As there were only 13 opposition MPs who stood up to reject Budget 2021, a bloc vote could not take place because it needed 15 MPs.

“The government formed through corruption and intimidation towards MPs was instead supported by opposition MPs without a sense of guilt for reneging on their promises to the rakyat.

“This is what took place in Parliament on Thursday, ” the Langkawi MP said in a statement.

“When we take a stand, we will not budge from it on the basis that we have a responsibility as an elected representative.

“We maintain our stance to reject any form of corruption and we hope the people will be aware of this and reject corruption. Only by rejecting corruption can it avoid the rot in the country, ” he said.

DAP and PKR’s decision not to support a bloc voting called by Mahfuz was heavily criticised by Malaysians and their respective supporters on social media.

“YB, I as a citizen in your constituency felt very disappointed with what happened just now in Parliament.

“Why didn’t you voice out your grievances against the Budget, ” said Twitter user Lam Ian.

Under Standing Order 46(3), a Bill will be put to the House for a voice vote of “ayes” and “nays” at the debates with the results announced by the Speaker.

The results can be challenged by an MP under Parliament’s Standing Order 46(4) by calling for a bloc vote which involves actual vote count of lawmakers present in the House.

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