I Told Ph Mps To Allow Budget To Pass But Only For Now Says Anwar
Anwar Ibrahim said the opposition’s nod for the passage at the policy stage was to allow salaries for the civil service to be paid.PETALING JAYA: Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim today said he told Pakatan Harapan MPs to allow Budget 2021 to pass the first vote, but to mount a fight in the coming committee stage debate on Monday.
He said while the finance minister had conceded to “some” demands made by PH, the opposition coalition was leaning towards rejecting the budget.
Anwar said the opposition’s nod for the passage at the policy stage was to allow salaries for the civil service, allowances and other payments to be made.
“While some decisions made by the finance minister appear to answer some of our demands, we can’t reject it strongly, so I told our friends to agree with the first round.
“This is the first round, the detailed committee stage debate is on Monday,” he told a press conference at Parliament today.
He added that they would likely ask for bloc voting then.
He said Dec 15 was the “ultimate date” when the fate of the budget would be decided.
Anwar also raised concerns over the budget tabled by Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz, saying it was highly unrealistic. He said the projected revenue, which was estimated to be higher than in 2019, was a cause for concern.
“There are improvements but there are no itemised figures. We expect the minister to be clear about this. Give us numbers. How can you say no increase when you are clearly spending more?” he asked.
He said there were some demands by PH that were not included in the budget, such as to address non-Malay concerns and include other“acceptable measures” for the rakyat.
Anwar said the EPF withdrawal of RM10,000 was good but appeared to be “loose”. He said Zafrul had agreed that the loan moratorium would be extended, adding: “All will be known in the committee stage”.
Anwar was then asked if the opposition’s passing of the budget at the policy stage was made out of respect for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s call to MPs to approve the budget.
He said the palace had also asked for inclusivity and a Covid-19 focused budget, which he said was hardly the case.
Anwar also slammed Speaker Azhar Harun for trying to limit the debate, saying he was “blatantly biased” by interrupting Zafrul to ask him to “summarise everything”.
“I want to give notice, I want to alert the Speaker, please use your powers responsibly and ensure there is an adequate avenue for MPs to express their views.” - FMT
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