KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 ― Former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman has apologised for not joining the Opposition lawmakers who tried to force a division during voting on Budget 2021 yesterday.
In an interview with BFM Radio, the Muar MP said that there was a late instruction from the Pakatan Harapan (PH) party whips not to support a division of the House.
“As we listened to Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul’s speech, respective whips were informed that bloc voting will not be called,” he said.
Syed Saddiq said that in hindsight, he was wrong not to join those who tried to force the division and apologised for this. He also called for better communication and coordination among the Opposition.
“Even if we had lost the vote, it is still our duty to put it to a vote. At the same time, we will know each other's stance. I think the lack of communication and direction caused a great problem.
“We owe an explanation to the Malaysian public, and we need to ensure that this doesn’t repeat again, especially when we enter the committee stage next week when we start debating in detail each and every issue in the budget,” he shared.
Since the release of his apology, Syed Saddiq has been criticised for toeing the PH line when his Muda party was supposedly independent. Some detractors mocked him as Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s lackey.
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.
Just before the vote, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz announced several concessions to demands from both sides of the divide allowing Budget 2021 to be approved via a voice vote despite shouts from lawmakers ostensibly rejecting the federal spending plan.