Kit Siang angry with Finance Minister

(Malaysiakini) – DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang has not taken kindly to Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz’s warning that civil servants may go unpaid if Budget 2021 is defeated.

Lim saw that as a threat against the opposition which he said has bent over backwards to offer the government ways in getting Budget 2021 passed.

“Opposition MPs have been bending backwards so as to support Budget 2021 but the Finance Minister has taken advantage of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s repeated advice for MPs to give full support to the Budget 2021 and to heal the economy in the midst of the ‘once-in-a-century’ Covid-19 epidemic,” Lim said in a statement.

The Iskandar Puteri MP said Zafrul’s action was the “height of irresponsibility”.

“Yesterday, Zafrul even went to the extent of warning that salaries for civil servants, health workers, and cash handouts would be stalled unless Budget 2021 was approved.

“I agree with the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim that Zafrul’s statement is an unacceptable threat and an attempt to ignore or sidestep valid and legitimate criticisms regarding Budget 2021, which had not been considered and approved by the cabinet,” he said.

Lim said it was “not good enough” that Zafrul earlier met with the opposition but did not eventually incorporate their proposals when Budget 2021 was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat.

Lim called for another meeting with Zafrul for him to properly consider the opposition’s proposals.

“As there had been a week of debate on Budget 2021, he should now meet with the opposition leaders on how he is going to incorporate their views and suggestions so that the Budget 2021 is truly a ‘unity’ budget,” Lim said.

He said voting on Budget 2021 is expected to start on Nov 25 when the last speaker winds up the debate.

He questioned if the budget bill can pass a vote in Parliament based on the current trajectory of how things were going.

“There will then be a vote on the second reading of the Budget 2021.

“If the Budget 2021 is defeated in the second reading policy debate, then there is no need for Parliament to continue with the committee stage of the budget to examine each ministry’s budget,” he said.