Amid the political crisis involving Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, the King has encouraged the MPs to support the upcoming Budget 2021.
Citing the welfare of the people, Comptroller of the Royal Household Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said the King stressed that the Budget will be crucial for the government and authorities to continue combating the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, several opposition MPs have widely indicated that they would only back Budget 2021 on November 6th only if it’s beneficial to the rakyat.
Shah Alam MP Khalid Abdul Samad said he wants to see a budget that would, among others, prioritize on protecting the people from the coronavirus and give a much-needed boost their livelihoods.
“Of course, I will surely back any motion or bill if it is advantageous to Malaysians, especially in this current situation. I hope priority will be given to the health sector, given this challenging period in tackling this on-going health crisis.
“If you remember in the previous budget, approved by former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, the sector which received the highest allocation was education, followed by health. So we hope this will be adjusted based on the priorities we see now for the next year.
“We also have to ensure that we have sufficient (financial) injection for the economy and businesses. We do not want everybody to close down (their businesses) because it would be costly to restart all over again. Therefore, the injection of economic packages is also equally important,” the Parti Amanah Negara MP told the New Straits Times.
The Perikatan Nasional (PN) government did not hold a pre-consultative session for Budget 2021 with opposition MPs, but Khalid said that it won’t be a problem as long as main points are discussed; although, this puts the government’s willingness to be open to fresh ideas into question as well.
“If they already have a budget that is prepared and ready to be tabled, they can always engage us immediately thereafter.
“We can always have discussions and form parliamentary committees to sit down and study the details, while the budget itself is being debated.
“We have about two weeks, so we can really do the ‘finger counting’ and reformulate the whole budget, if necessary, in order to achieve something you can have consensus on,” added Khalid.
Gopeng MP Lee Boon Chye also added on how he would put a vote for motions and bills that would benefit both the country and the people.
“I think they should have a substantial increase in budget for the Health Ministry, which includes a special allocation to combat Covid-19. I do hope there would be considerable amount for public health.
“We need to prevent Covid-19 transmission, instead of (focusing on) putting out the fire (of infections). Prevention is better and we need to tighten up efforts to reduce the spread of the virus,” said the former deputy health minister.
Lee said that if the opposition was to support the PN government, they should’ve had talks prior to the Budget 2021 being tabled.
“There have been no consultations at all so far. So, it is premature to say whether we can support or otherwise. I believe there is still room to negotiate, as we have about 11 days before the tabling of Budget 2021.
“Certainly, we can work together based on the framework of the PN budget, as it will only come to a vote in about four weeks from now. So there is still ample time to have bipartisan input,” he said.
112 out of 222 Malaysia’s MPs are parliamentarians while 108 are of the opposition.