Anwar insists Putrajaya’s RM250b stimulus be presented in Parliament

Yiswaree Palansamy
PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim leaving PKR hq in Petaling Jaya March 1, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said checks and balances were essential in the country’s administration and Parliament must be allowed to scrutinise the government’s RM250 billion Prihatin stimulus package.

In a Facebook Live session today, he stressed that the country cannot be run by know-it-alls and important matters such as finance must receive Parliament’s approval.

“Brothers, this country cannot be governed by one or two people who feel that they are very smart and all-knowing. We in this country are faced with a crisis, the Covid-19 disease, which also gave a bad effect to the economy, and coincidentally, crude oil price fell.

“Then from the tourism perspective, from industries, from small and medium enterprises whose earnings are now negative nationwide, which will cause hundreds of thousands to lose jobs and wages. All these need the support of all the people.

“As the budget projection has depleted, this has to now go back to Parliament,” Anwar said to explain why he was adamant Parliament must debate the stimulus.

Last week, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced a RM250 billion economic stimulus package to cushion the economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Muhyiddin announced that the economic aid, dubbed the People-Centric Economic Stimulus package (Prihatin), will benefit all segments of the society.

Anwar pointed out that he had sought Parliament’s approval for RM2 billion in public funds to bail out Perwaja Holdings Berhad when he was the finance minister.

He said he did this even when he was authorised to disburse the funds directly.

“At that time it was because of the losses incurred by Perwaja, that I was forced to table (motion seeking RM2 billion) in Parliament, because even though I was the finance minister and can transfer the sum, but I followed the rules that it must receive Parliament support,” he said.

Anwar said he assured Muhyiddin that the Opposition would not use the sitting to call for a vote of no-confidence against the latter.

“We will only debate and ask for explanations on few issues from the prime minister and from the finance minister and other ministries, some of whom like to sleep or display weird clothing,” Anwar said in an apparent swipe at Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin

Zuraida was mocked online after she was photographed wearing a hazmat suit while taking part in a public sanitisation exercise in Sungai Ramal, Kajang, a Covid-19 hotspot.

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