Kit Siang: MPs have two choices in Budget 2021 vote next Thursday, so what’s going to happen?

Ashman Adam
·2-min read
One of the thorniest provisions raised during Budget 2021 debates after its November 6 tabling has been the RM85.5 million allocated to the revival of the Special Affairs Department. ― Bernama pic
One of the thorniest provisions raised during Budget 2021 debates after its November 6 tabling has been the RM85.5 million allocated to the revival of the Special Affairs Department. ― Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — Members of Parliament have two choices when their vote on Budget 2021 is called on November 26, according to DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang.

He said option one is for MPs to force a showdown by either accepting or rejecting the ruling Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) proposal.

Option two, he said, would be to fully use the parliamentary process and explore the avenues available by proposing amendments to questionable provisions during the Committee Stage of the Budget.

“What will happen next Thursday?” the Iskandar Puteri MP asked in a statement today.

One of the thorniest provisions raised during Budget debates after its November 6 tabling has been the RM85.5 million allocated to the revival of the Special Affairs Department (Jasa).

Opposition MPs have criticised Jasa as a propaganda unit formed when Barisan Nasional was in power to maintain its continuity; its last director-general Datuk Seri Puad Zakarshi has also admitted this and though welcoming its revival, he also panned the hefty allocation as being “insensitive” of priorities when the nation has taken heavy hits with the resurgence of the Covid-19 virus.

Lim appeared sceptical about an amenable resolution to the Budget vote next Thursday.

In the same statement, he suggested that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had by-passed the parliamentary and democratic process by seeking, and obtaining, an emergency declaration on Batu Sapi to suspend a by-election for the Sabah parliamentary seat.

“The message of the Muhyiddin government is crystal-clear: Its first choice is for a declaration of emergency by the Yang di Pertuan Agong and not to seek a remedy through Parliament!

“Will this be the attitude of the government with regard to the 2021 Budget?” Lim asked.

He said the Opposition parties had suggested alternatives to a by-election that could have worsened the Covid situation in Sabah, namely a walkover for Warisan instead of engaging in a free-for-all contest to fill the vacancy left by the death of Batu Sapi incumbent Datuk Liew Vui Keong.

PN’s Budget 2021 has received criticism from both sides of the political divide, who alluded that next year’s allocation plan was not inclusive as claimed by the government.

Among the demands are those from PN’s allies Umno, who have demanded an RM10,000 one-off withdrawal be allowed for EPF contributors, a blanket bank loan moratorium that was imposed from March to September to be enforced for yet another six months by the Opposition.

Budget 2021 is said to be worth RM322.5 billion, the largest ever tabled in Parliament.

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