Opposition MPs should have voted against Budget, says Baru Bian

KUCHING: Opposition MPs should have voted against Budget 2021 on Thursday (Nov 26) as it is “unfair and not comprehensive”, says Selangau MP Baru Bian (pic).

He said concerns raised by the Opposition about the Budget were not taken into account in Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz's winding-up speech in Parliament.

"The rationale for objecting to this Budget is basic and fundamental. This Budget is not a just and fair one.

"(The Finance Minister) may have made concessions on some concerns but many were not considered or not very clear," he said in a statement Friday (Nov 27).

Baru, who is from Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB), added that the Budget should be rejected as a means of opposing the Perikatan Nasional government, which he said did not have the mandate of the people.

He said the defeat of the Budget, according to parliamentary convention, implied that the government had lost its command of the majority in Parliament, thus throwing doubt on its credibility in leading the nation.

"Whether we succeed or not is another issue altogether. It is the principle behind the voting that matters most.

"On the basis of these two reasons, I believe the Opposition should vote against the Budget," he said.

Budget 2021 was passed at the policy stage by a voice vote on Thursday.

An attempt to call a bloc vote failed when only 13 MPs stood to support it, two short of the 15 needed.

Baru, who was one of the lawmakers who stood up to support the move, said there was confusion among the Opposition because of a "last-minute instruction" from the Opposition whip not to go for bloc voting.

"That is why I believe fewer than 15 MPs stood up. PKR and DAP MPs were looking at their leaders on whether to stand or not.

"I noticed some stood up and later sat down as their leaders did not stand up to indicate going for bloc voting," he said.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had said he appealed to Amanah president Mohamad Sabu to allow Budget 2021 to proceed at the policy stage so as not to be seen as ignoring some new measures announced by Zafrul.

However, he said the Opposition would call for bloc voting when Budget 2021 is debated at the committee stage.

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