Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim today revealed that Pakatan Harapan party leaders Lim Guan Eng and Mohamad Sabu had been keen to push for a bloc vote on Budget 2021 in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday but that he had requested against it.
In a statement, Anwar said the move was to allow MPs to scrutinise the budget in detail, adding that MPs had the right to question the budget’s new amendments and if any cuts were made.
He added that this included the impact of the budget on the country’s finances, on taxi drivers, canteen operators, and the mechanisms used to withdraw from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).
“The loan moratorium from financial institutions also needs to be looked into,” Anwar said.
He said the opposition still had the opportunity to make a stand on the budget, including a bloc vote during the second vote on the budget at the committee stage.
Yesterday, Anwar was widely expected to get opposition MPs to vote against the bill but only 13 MPs stood up to seek a bloc vote, when at least 15 are needed for the process.
Anwar, the Port Dickson MP, added that yesterday there was an unprecedented move to make several amendments to the federal budget. “I need to state that in the history of the Malaysian Parliament, the budget has never been amended in such a way. This is a sign of Perikatan Nasional’s readiness to do anything to stay in power,” he added.
Source : FMT
Anwar gave last-minute memo to PH MPs after Najib backed out of budget threat
The word-of-mouth message however did not reach Amanah MPs, most of whom stood up to call for a bloc vote.
A last-minute instruction by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to his Pakatan Harapan (PH) comrades saw MPs from PKR and DAP sitting out a call for a bloc vote on the 2021 budget, which was easily passed by voice vote.
A PKR insider told MalaysiaNow that the task of spreading the message was given to the party’s chief whip Johari Abdul, the Sungai Petani MP.
“The message made the rounds in the House by word of mouth. Unfortunately, not everyone received it in time,” the source said.
It is learnt that Anwar’s instruction to the MPs was due to former prime minister Najib Razak backing out of his threat to scuttle the budget.
Anwar however later told reporters that the decision to avoid a bloc vote was not due to a lack of numbers on his side.
He also accused the Dewan Rakyat speaker Azhar Harun of being “blatantly biased”, saying MPs were not given the opportunity to air their views during Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz’s winding-up speech.
During the budget debate which took place over the past two weeks, Najib had echoed Anwar in saying that his vote would be contingent on several amendments to the budget.
“The message made the rounds in the House by word of mouth. Unfortunately, not everyone received it in time.”
There was also speculation that Najib and at least four MPs from Umno would break ranks with their colleagues to vote against the budget.
After Zafrul’s speech today, Azhar urged MPs who wanted a bloc vote to stand up.
Only 13 did so, two MPs short of the minimum 15 needed for a bloc vote to take place.
Source : Malaysia Now