Budget 2021 clears third reading

Despite all the speculation and drama in the last few weeks, the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government’s Budget 2021 was passed 111-108 in its third reading in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun announced the absence of one MP when the Opposition called for bloc voting. It is believed the missing lawmaker is Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah from Barisan Nasional.

The Dewan Rakyat also passed the budgets for the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education earlier today. With this, the allocations for all 27 ministries have cleared the committee stage.

“This vote is proof the Perikatan Nasional government is concerned about the people,” Senior Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali (PN-Gombak) said in his support of the Budget motion when tabled by Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

His remark triggered shouts of “pengkhianat” — Malay for traitor — from Opposition MPs.

Yesterday, Pakatan Harapan (PH) has urged federal lawmakers from the Opposition bloc and government backbenchers to vote against the third reading of the Budget 2021 Bill in the Dewan Rakyat tomorrow.

In urging lawmakers to reject Budget 2021, PH’s Secretariat Council said the Finance Ministry in its various media statements and round-up speech of the Budget failed to accommodate the various requests made by lawmakers and the public at large in regards to the people’s welfare.

This included issues such as the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) withdrawal, bank loan moratoriums, assistance to frontliners and those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, children education, reduced income, unemployment and rising cost of living.

“PH had previously stated it will debate on Budget 2021 in the committee stage and subsequently call for a bloc vote during the third reading which is expected to take place tomorrow.

“Therefore, PH is urging all MPs, whether they’re Opposition members or government backbenchers who understood that the Budget failed to achieve its objectives in the fight against Covid-19, assisting the people and rejuvenating the economy, to reject it tomorrow,” it said in a statement.

The statement was co-signed by Parti Amanah Negara communication director Khalid Samad, PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, and DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke.

The Opposition had called for bloc voting on allocations for more than five ministries, including the Finance Ministry and Prime Minister’s Department, but failed to garner sufficient votes so far.

Source: Malaymail