This Is Only The First Round Says Anwar On Today S Vote
Opposition leader and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar arrives at the Dewan Rakyat today. - BERNAMA picKUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Harapan will wait for the Supply Bill 2021 (committee level) debate session, scheduled for next Monday, before deciding whether or not to support the government's budget, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said.
He said today's policy-level wrap-up did not touch on the details for next year's spending and therefore, the opposition pact would give time for the government to make improvements to cater to all Malaysians regardless of their background.
"This is only the first round. A more detailed debate will start at the committee stage on Monday. We have decided to call for a bloc voting (then) if there are ministries that go against our wishes on governance and corruption.
"We made the decision not to call for a bloc vote today, (because) we do not want to disturb the early stage (of debates) as there is a wrong perception among the public that frontliners' salaries and allowances will be affected if we reject (the budget).
"So let's get this chapter over with first, then we will fight even more intensely at the committee stage next week as we will need to listen to all the details that were not provided to us today," he told reporters when met at the Parliament building here today.
During the budget's voting session today, 13 MPs from Parti Amanah Negara and Parti Pejuang Tanah Air called for a bloc voting but failed to gather the minimum requirement of 15 MPs.
This caused confusion in the Dewan Rakyat today, as DAP and PKR were expected to reject the bill together with their ally, Amanah.
While acknowledging that other opposition MPs such as Lim Guan Eng (PH-Bagan) and Mohamad Sabu (PH-Kota Raja) had strong views against the 2021 Budget, Anwar said he had appealed for them to allow the budget to go on.
"There is no guarantee that it won't be approved. Next Monday when the 2021 Budget is at the committee stage, it will be further deliberated at length.
"We will certainly choose to reject and call for a revision when necessary. Whether it will be approved or not at the final third reading (committee stage), there won't be any indication by us (of the decision)."
Anwar also acknowledged that Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz had taken several measures when he announced the amendments made in the 2021 Budget.
"I don't want to be seen ignoring the fact that the minister had taken some measures to address fundamental issues which will be more acceptable to the Rakyat."
On Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun's way of handling today's sitting, Anwar claimed that the former was 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 said.
Earlier in the Dewan Rakyat, Datuk Mahfuz Omar (PH-Pokok Sena) called for a bloc vote on the 2021 Budget but it was passed by a simple voice vote in Parliament.
Azhar said there were 13 MPs who stood up in support of Mahfuz, but the identities of the 13 could not be confirmed at press time.
Other MPs from Pejuang and Amanah, namely Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, Datuk Shahruddin Md Salleh, and several other MPs also stood up in support of Mahfuz.
Mahfuz's call for a bloc vote failed after Azhar said there were only 13 MPs who stood up in support, short of the required 15 MPs under Standing Order 46(4). - NST
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