Opposition should have gone for bloc voting on Budget 2021, says Selangau MP

Sulok Tawie
·2-min read
Baru observed some confusion within the Opposition before voting took place with a last-minute instruction from the Opposition Whip on not going for bloc voting. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Baru observed some confusion within the Opposition before voting took place with a last-minute instruction from the Opposition Whip on not going for bloc voting. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUCHING, Nov 27 ― Selangau MP Baru Bian asserted today that the Opposition should have forced a bloc voting on the principle that the federal Budget 2021 is not comprehensive and that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) is not a government with Malaysians’ mandate.

He said he was one of the 13 federal lawmakers who stood up in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday seeking a bloc vote against the Budget, which he felt was not just nor fair.

“We have voiced our dissatisfaction like many others including neutral parties, but our concerns were not taken into account in Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz’s winding-up speech and no amendments were made to the Budget.

He said Tengku Zafrul may have made some concessions but many were not considered or not very clear.

“Secondly, opposing the Budget means a reflection of our opposition to the present government which is not mandated by the people,” Baru, who is from Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB), said in a statement.

“By our parliamentary convention that follows the Westminster system, in the event the Budget is defeated, the inference is that the prime minister’s government has lost its command in Parliament, thus throwing doubt on its credibility to lead the country.

“Whether we succeed or not is another issue altogether,” he added.

He said PSB’s stand to vote against the Budget is premised on principles grounded on the two initial reasons. Likewise, he said the Opposition should have done the same.

Baru observed some confusion within the Opposition before voting took place with a last-minute instruction from the Opposition Whip on not going for bloc voting.

“That is why I believe fewer than 15 MPs stood up. PKR and DAP MPs were looking at their leaders whether to stand up or not.

“I noticed some stood up and later sat down as their leaders did not stand up to indicate going for bloc voting,” he said.

Perikatan Nasional’s inaugural Budget 2021 cleared the policy stage in Parliament yesterday on a voice vote.

Only 13 MPs stood up and were counted when Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun called for those opposing to do so, though their identities were not made immediately clear as coverage of Parliament has been limited to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

A minimum of 15 lawmakers was needed to oppose for the voice vote to fail.

The Budget will now go to the committee stage, for its specific allocations to be debated and voted on.

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