Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim-led opposition intends to reject Budget 2021 during the third and final voting session today, two weeks after debates at the committee stage began.
The Pakatan Harapan said in a statement yesterday they believe that the budget leaves much to be desired, especially in areas involving education and additional income for frontline workers.
“Budget 2021 does not fulfill what it promised to many MPs and their people. This includes additional finances for front-line workers, education, and those who lost their jobs or had their salaries cut due to the pandemic, and many others,” the statement said.
“The National Alliance, or PH, would like to encourage all MPs, whether you’re part of the government or opposition, to realize that Budget 2021 does not meet the objectives of fighting COVID-19, helping the people, and reviving the economy.”
The 2021 federal budget, proposed by Finance Minister Zafrul Aziz, would be the biggest one in Malaysia if approved as it plans to set aside RM322.5 billion (US$80 billion). Of which, RM830 million would be channeled to the Health Ministry to deal with infectious diseases not limited to COVID-19. Zafrul had said that coronavirus vaccines would cost the country RM3 billion, but did not mention how the budget would finance this.
“PH hopes that MPs will choose to reject Budget 2021 in the third vote tomorrow,” yesterday’s statement added. It was signed by Saifuddin Nasution from the People’s Justice Party, Hatta Ramli from Amanah, and former transport minister Anthony Loke from the Democratic Action Party.
In the first round of votes last month, former prime minister Mahathir Mohammad and 12 others already expressed their displeasure with the budget by rejecting it at the policy stage back in November. Mahathir said that the budget did not prioritize the people.
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This article, Malaysia’s opposition expected to reject federal budget in final vote today, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.