KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today accused Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz of resorting to fear tactics to gain parliamentary support for Budget 2021.
The Port Dickson MP said Tengku Zafrul’s recent reported remarks that the government would not be able to pay its commitments if its proposed Budget was not passed were aimed to cow the Opposition lawmakers into falling in line.
“The Finance Minister hinted that if the Budget 2021 tabled by the Perikatan Nasional government is not approved, then it would not be able to pay all commitments including the payment of salaries of civil servants and this would affect frontline workers fighting Covid-19.
“I think this is a tasteless statement that smells of intimidation and is part of a plan to marginalise a majority of MPs,” Anwar said in his Facebook post.
The PKR president’s remarks follows Tengku Zafrul’s detailed explanation of Budget 2021 in an interview with the New Sunday Times published earlier today.
In his Facebook post, Anwar claimed a better Budget could be prepared that takes into account public welfare during the Covid-19 crisis.
“As I emphasised when debating the budget in Parliament, the issue of emoluments of civil servants, operating expenses and especially the expenses for the front line as well as medical and health equipment will still be maintained.
“I reiterate the call for the government to scrutinise Budget 2021. The Opposition will only support if it is really a budget to fight Covid-19,” Anwar said.
Budget 2021 is the ruling Perikatan Nasional’s maiden budget after it replaced the Pakatan Harapan administration nine months ago.
With a proposed sum of RM322.5 billion, it is the nation’s most ambitious budget to date.
It was tabled on November 6 in the Dewan Rakyat as an expansionary budget to fight the coronavirus and protect Malaysia’s economy.