Allocations for three ministries approved as Opposition shun bloc votes after string of defeats

Altogether, the allocations of seven ministries have been approved at the committee stage debate of Budget 2021, with four via voice votes while three through divisions. ― Bernama pic
Altogether, the allocations of seven ministries have been approved at the committee stage debate of Budget 2021, with four via voice votes while three through divisions. ― Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 —  The Dewan Rakyat approved the allocations for three ministries under Budget 2021 at the committee stage today, with all passed via voice vote as Opposition lawmakers did not try to trigger any divisions.

At 2.35pm, Deputy Speaker Datuk Rashid Hasnon called for a vote on the RM2.1 billion allocation for the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry, with the majority of MPs supporting. 

Minister Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah provided a winding-up speech for the ministry that was free of yesterday’s theatrics.

The government backbenchers’ chief whip Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (BN-Arau) also reminded the Opposition repeatedly of his side’s numerical superiority.

“Today, we have 112 people (MPs) but the situation is calm,” he said casually during the start of his debate on the ministry.

When Shahidan repeated the same statement after the ministry’s allocation was passed, Mohamad Sabu (PH-Kota Raja) was heard responding just before the Parliament sitting was postponed until tomorrow morning.

“Arau, don’t provoke us,” Mohamad was heard saying.

Earlier today, the allocations for the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry and the Rural Development Ministry were also approved via voice votes.

Altogether, the allocations of seven ministries have been approved at the committee stage debate of Budget 2021, with four via voice votes while three through divisions.

Since Monday, the Opposition has consistently topped out at 95 MPs for each of the divisions.

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim (Harapan-Port Dickson) and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad (Independent-Langkawi) were present in Parliament today and participated in the debate.

Budget 2021 sailed past the policy stage last week after Anwar instructed the Opposition not to vote it down then, which caused an attempt to force a division then to fail.

Anwar acknowledged that both DAP and Amanah had wanted the division and said he had invoked his position as Opposition leader to get them to stand down.

Voting in 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.

Malay Mail last week reported that Anwar was said to have pleaded with his Pakatan Harapan (PH) allies to give him “one more week” to prove he commands the majority in Dewan Rakyat.

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