Anwar Protests After Speaker Stops Debate On Zuraida S Rm8 6m Initiative
PARLIAMENT | Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim engaged in a tense exchange today over the former’s time management.
Immediately after Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin concluded her Budget 2021 winding-up speech, Anwar rose in protest.
He was upset over how MPs were not given the chance to question the minister on the RM8.6 million budget allocated to Penggerak Komuniti Tempatan (PEKT).
Azhar had earlier told Zuraida to finish her speech as time was up and muted microphones when other lawmakers attempted to speak.
“I disagree with your overly strict stance in stopping MPs from raising important issues. I protest it!
“You are too strict. I think this is an (important) issue. Please allow room for the minister to answer. Why is an extra five minutes a problem?” Anwar said to Azhar.
Azhar Azizan Harun
In response, the speaker said it was Zuraida’s prerogative to allow interruptions.
“Please listen to me. If any MPs want to interrupt to ask for clarification and if the minister allows it, then it can be done. If the minister does not allow it, then it can’t,” Azhar answered before gesturing to the next minister to proceed with the winding-up speech.
Anwar had previously protested the new format for winding-up speeches, saying the 20-minute time limit was too short to allow for a substantive discussion over budget proposals.
Zuraida explains RM8.6m funding
During her speech, Zuraida explained that the ministry’s PEKT initiative had nothing to do with an NGO linked to her, despite their similar names.
“Penggerak Komuniti Tempatan is not Penggerak Komuniti Negara.
“Penggerak Komuniti Negara is an NGO. Penggerak Komuniti Tempatan was born out of (the ministry’s) National Community Policy. It is an extension of this programme,” she said.
The NGO previously denied allegations that it will be receiving part of the RM8.6 million allocation given to PEKT next year.
The minister also explained how PEKT aims to empower the urban B40 communities, especially those living in low-cost high-rise housing, through “trash to cash”, community firefighting and other programmes.
She further stressed that PEKT officers were chosen based on strict criteria determined by the ministry.
During her speech, Zuraida appeared to have ignored questions from Sim Tze Tzin (Pakatan Harapan-Bayan Baru) about whether political appointments had been made to PEKT.
Neither did she allow Wong Kah Woh (Harapan-Ipoh Timur) to interrupt her.
Zuraida was previously reported as saying that 261 PEKT representatives had been appointed by the ministry to carry out initiatives with local communities. - Mkini
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