Amid Budget 2021 vote backlash, DAP sources say MPs toeing line set by Anwar but some upset with decision

People watch Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz speaking during the winding-up debate on the Supply Bill 2021 in the Dewan Rakyat today, November 26, 2020. ― Bernama pic
People watch Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz speaking during the winding-up debate on the Supply Bill 2021 in the Dewan Rakyat today, November 26, 2020. ― Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 ― Sources from DAP have explained that all its MPs received instruction from Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim against bloc voting for the Budget 2021 that was subsequently approved in the first stage earlier.

According to them, the instruction was relayed to them via DAP secretary-general and Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng after conferring with Anwar prior to that.

“The decision was made earlier today and DAP agrees with Anwar to not allow the bloc voting to go through,” said a source from the party that wished to remain anonymous.

Another anonymous source said that the decision was made after Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz has announced several “goodies” for the public in his winding out speech before vote takes place in the second reading for Budget 2021 today.

“PN government relented to some pressures from the Opposition. We don’t want to be seen as not trying to stop the allocation for the people,” said another source.

Meanwhile another source confirms that some quarters in the parties are visibly upset with what is happening today and said the party will confer to get an explanation from the top echelon of Pakatan Harapan.

“Several of the MPs are upset with the decision. Right now we are still opposing the budget 2021.

“But it was a decision by the leadership,” said another anonymous source who declined to explain more.

Several MPs from PKR and DAP took to the social media talking about their decision saying they still reject the Budget but doing so via voice vote instead of bloc voting where every MP votes are counted.

PKR’s Tanjung Malim MP Chang Lih Kang wrote on Facebook that they will continue to oppose the Budget 2021 in the committee level

“Today, the Opposition does not support this Budget, we have voted through a vote to reject it. It's just that we don't ask for a bloc-voting,” he said.

Meanwhile DAP’s Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii even denies that he stood up after a list featuring his name was circulated in the social media that he was among the 13 MPs who wanted to force bloc voting

“I have to apologise as I was not one of the one that stood. I made the stand on socials before the vote, after hearing the speech. It was done under a voice vote,” he tweeted.

Anwar in a press conference at Parliament today said he instructed the Opposition to give way to approve the Budget 2021 policy stage as he said he does not want to be seen as stopping the goodies and concessions as announced by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

He said that although the decision is very difficult as he claimed Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz had “evaded substantive fundamental issues” including the projection and revenue of the Budget.

Lim and DAP’s deputy chairman Gobind Singh Deo were seen at the press conference with Anwar.

Budget 2021 was approved in the policy stage today after Parliament approved it via a voice vote when fewer than the 15 lawmakers needed to force bloc-voting rose to make their rejection known.

Prior to the vote, Tengku Zafrul announced several concessions to demands from both sides of the divide including extending the loan moratorium for all B40 income earners and small businesses as well as allowing eight million EPF contributors to withdraw up to RM10,000 from their Account 1 in one lump sum instead of RM6,000 over 12 months.

A total of 13 Opposition lawmakers former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu stood up to force the bloc vote.

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