Supply bill passed by 5-vote majority

(FMT) – The Dewan Rakyat passed the Supply (Reallocation of Appropriated Expenditure) Bill 2020 this afternoon by a five-vote majority after proceedings were suspended for 10 minutes, forcing a protest by the opposition MPs.

Speaker Azhar Harun called for a 10-minute recess just before the voting was due to take place.

Several opposition MPs stood up to object, with RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) saying that Azhar “cannot hijack the Parliament”.

They demanded to know the reason for the suspension.

Hanipa Maidin (PH-Sepang) told the speaker: “You just said to vote.”

The mikes were muted as Azhar left his seat. He returned about 10 minutes later and called on the MPs to vote.

The bill, seeking an allocation of RM7.18 billion, was passed by a majority of five votes, with 111 saying “aye” and 106 saying “nay”. Five MPs were absent.

Earlier, the opposition MPs had asked for a bloc vote after failing to reach a decision on the voice vote.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad (Ind-Langkawi) had earlier asked MPs to reject any bill seeking additional funds for the government’s expenditure, saying they would only be used to support a bloated administration.

He said Malaysia was facing the Covid-19 pandemic and the government’s revenue had dropped as companies’ profits were lower.

He said the Perikatan Nasional government should work to reduce the deficit, which he claimed the bill would inflate.

The biggest reallocation is RM5.92 billion for the higher education ministry, which was split from the education ministry under the previous administration.

The second biggest reallocation is RM310 million for the Prime Minister’s Department, followed by RM305 million for the environment and water ministry.