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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 — Veteran newsman Datuk A. Kadir Jasin said today that Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim might have heeded the advice of the nation’s ruler in allowing the budget to pass or risk angering the monarch.
In a Facebook posting today, Kadir opined that Anwar’s puzzling “strategy” yesterday in directing Pakatan Harapan (PH) MPs to allow the Budget 2021 to pass at the policy level was attributed to the PKR President’s careful deliberations of not seeking the ire of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah who has the power to the determine his future in seeking the prime minister post.
“But as DAP parliamentary leader Anthony Loke Siew Fook said in a statement yesterday, if PH rejects the [budget] Bill, it will be accused of disobeying the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong’s advice, not wanting the salaries of civil servants to be paid, not supporting aid to the B40 group, restricting allowances for farmers and fishermen as well as many more.
“The factors regarding following the advice of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong are quite interesting. If it is true that Anwar has presented evidence of 128 SD (statutory declaration) supporting him, then His Majesty’s response is the determinant of the Opposition Leader’s future. So he must be careful not to infuriate His Highness,’’ he said.
However, Kadir stressed that there is still room for the Opposition to oppose Budget 2021 as the Bill still needs to be deliberated at several other stages.
“In conclusion, the 2021 Budget has not been passed. The Budget 2021 Bill is only passed at the second reading stage which is the policy stage. Starting this Monday, the debate will enter the committee level where the allocation of each ministry needs to be discussed in detail and approved.
“At that stage, technically, every day there is an opportunity to propose a split vote by any of the 15 members of the House,’’ he said, referring to MPs of the Dewan Rakyat.
Kadir then stressed again that vote for the Budget 2021 Bill can be separated from the issue of a no-confidence vote against the prime minister, which the Speaker of the house could give assurance that it will be deliberated in the Dewan Rakyat.
Yesterday, just 13 Opposition MPs including former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu stood up to try and force a bloc vote.
Prior to the vote, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz 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.
This allowed Budget 2021 to be approved via a voice vote despite shouts from lawmakers ostensibly rejecting the federal spending plan.
Voting on Budget 2021 had come under extreme scrutiny as there was an expectation that it could be rejected.
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.