Report: Putrajaya likely to delay vote on Budget 2021

Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz tables Budget 2021 in Parliament November 6, 2020. ― Bernama pic
Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz tables Budget 2021 in Parliament November 6, 2020. ― Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 — Voting on Budget 2021 could be delayed a week from Thursday, said government sources.

They told The Straits Times the government was considering postponing the crucial vote to December 1, ostensibly because several ministries have not responded to matters raised by federal lawmakers during debate in Parliament.

It is understood the process is already behind schedule, in large part due to the shortened daily sittings after a Covid-19 scare in Parliament.

“There are 16 ministries that have not wrapped up. We have to give the necessary time,” one source said, adding that the MPs have yet to be formally informed of the issue. 

The vote on Budget 2021 is critical due to the Perikatan Nasional government’s slender majority in the legislature.

By convention, a rejection of the federal Budget is considered a successful vote of no-confidence against the ruling party and should be met by the resignation of the entire Cabinet.

The delay could provide Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s government time to negotiate support for Budget 2021 or adjust the federal spending plan to win over critics.

Since its tabling on November 6, both government and Opposition lawmakers have questioned the allocations and priorities in Budget 2021 despite the Yang diPertuan Agong’s repeated advice for them to support this in the interests of the country.

Among their demands include an extended loan moratorium, increased withdrawals from statutory retirement savings, and larger cash handouts.

The more prominent MPs who have indicated their reluctance to support the budget include former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Gua Musang MP Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

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