KUCHING (Nov 27): The opposition is gearing up for the committee stage debate on the 2021 Budget before its third reading in Parliament for approval, said Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen today.
The Stampin MP said the opposition would “grill and debate through the budget at each and every ministry” as the debate was scheduled to start on Monday (Nov 30).
The national DAP vice chairman said the opposition may call a division with voting by individual vote counts if they were not satisfied with ministerial answers on the proposed budget.
“Starting Monday, if the JPM (Prime Minister’s Department) could not satisfactorily answer the queries of the MPs on the expenditure proposed, then we may call a division with voting by individual vote counts.
“The 2021 Budget has yet to be passed as the third reading of the budget is also subject to voting,” he said in a WhatsApp message to The Borneo Post when prompted for comments on the passing of the 2021 Budget at the policy stage in Parliament yesterday.
Chong said the opposition did not oppose to the budget’s approval at the policy stage because the minister of finance had acceded to their requests to amend the budget.
“If we oppose at this stage, it will also be taken that we also oppose his (minister of finance) proposed amendments. As such, (parliamentarian opposition leader Datuk Seri) Anwar (Ibrahim) has proposed that we hold on to the opposition by votes of the policy stage of the second reading.
“And that at the committee stage debate, we will have more time to grill and debate through the budget at each and every ministry,” he said.
Chong pointed out that there would be debate on each and every ministry and calling for votes, whether by voice vote or individual vote, for each ministry in the coming three weeks.
“That is what we call, the committee stage debate of the second reading of the budget. If all all ministries were approved, then the third reading of the budget is also subject to voting,” he said.
The 2021 Budget was approved at the policy stage after the majority of MPs present in Parliament supported it through a voice vote.
The passing of the budget was an indication that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin still had support in Parliament to continue leading the nation.