Budget 2021: Decisive victory for PN in first two bloc votes

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Budget 2021: Decisive victory for PN in first two bloc votes
Budget 2021: Decisive victory for PN in first two bloc votes

PARLIAMENT | The Supply (Budget) Bill 2021 has inched closer to passage with the Dewan Rakyat passing the Prime Minister's Department and Finance Ministry's allocations at the committee stage.

The first round of voting took place at about 2.30pm. The result was 105 to 95, with 20 absent. The second round of voting at about 4.30pm saw 107 for and 95 against, with 18 absent.

Notable absentees on the government bench during the vote at about 2pm today were Najib Abdul Razak (BN-Pekan), Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (BN-Bagan Datuk) and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (BN-Gua Musang).

The absentees from the opposition included Masir Kujat (PSB-Sri Aman), Chow Kon Yeow (Pakatan Harapan-Tanjong), Christina Liew (Harapan-Tawau) and all eight Warisan MPs.

Given that the Perikatan Nasional (PN)-BN-GPS ruling alliance did not obtain 111 votes today, it was technically possible for them to be defeated.

However, what was clear was that opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (Harapan-Port Dickson) - who has claimed since Sept 23 that he commanded a "strong, formidable and convincing" majority - was not able to muster a united opposition.

Malaysiakini is still trying to identify several other backbenchers who were absent. A full list should be available in the Hansard tomorrow morning.

It is understood that Willie Mongin (PN-Puncak Borneo) and Michael Teo (Harapan-Miri) missed the vote because they had to return to Sarawak recently. However, Teo made it for the second vote at 4.30pm.

MPs who are currently debating the bill will have the opportunity to scrutinise and vote on the government's proposed allocation for the ministry during what is known as the committee stage.

There are 25 more debates to go before the bill is tabled for third reading and a final vote on Dec 17.

Since the PN-led alliance took over the government in March, each time a bloc vote is called - a process where every vote is tabulated - it will come under intense scrutiny.

This is because Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is believed to command the support of no more than 112 MPs. It would only take a few defections to topple his government.