Thursday, March 4, 2021

Let’s reject the budget and topple govt, PH MP says in leaked document

'Mini-dossier' tells MPs there is nothing to worry about if the government collapses despite several royal reminders.

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A Pakatan Harapan (PH) MP has been tasked with briefing fellow lawmakers on a plan to defeat the 2021 budget and cause the collapse of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, MalaysiaNow can now reveal.

A leaked “mini-dossier” prepared by the MP provides a summary of allocations for various ministries and tells others to reject the budget bill on Nov 26 so that a new government can be formed.

“If you defeat the budget on Nov 26, you can try to form a new government within a week, then re-table the budget immediately, get it passed by mid-December and also get Dewan Negara to approve it in time, before Jan 1, 2021,” the document concluded, following a comparison between the 2020 and 2021 budgets.

The call to shoot down the budget appears to contradict assurances by PH leaders of their conditional support for the budget if certain amendments are made.

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim and former prime minister Najib Razak have both said they will support the budget if the government allows EPF contributors to make larger withdrawals, as well as a blanket extension of the loan moratorium.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has several times reminded MPs across the divide to ensure that the budget is passed, so as not to impede critical allocations for frontliners in the battle against Covid-19.

Any defeat of the budget could also mean the collapse of the government, and trigger pandemic-season snap polls which health officials have warned against for fear of a spike in new infections.

“The earlier the better.”

But in the document sighted by MalaysiaNow, the MP claims that funds can still be channelled even with the budget’s defeat and the collapse of the government.

He also claims that the government had in the past practised a “spend first, approve later” budget, and that it would not be a problem even in the absence of a government.

“An interim caretaker government can pass a temporary budget effective for 3-6 months until a political solution is found.

“Overall, the Malaysian Parliament is very flexible in terms of managing the budget,” the document said.

It urges MPs to ensure that the budget bill is defeated at the policy stage on Nov 26 instead of during the committee stage debates which will take place from Nov 30 to Dec 15.

“The earlier the better,” it said. “If you defeat the budget on Nov 26, you can try to form a new government within a week, then re-table the budget immediately, get it passed by mid-December and also get Dewan Negara to approve it in time, before Jan 1, 2021.”

It said if MPs wait until Dec 15 to shoot down the budget, “you may be restricted by time to get passage via Dewan Negara”.

“But it is not fatal,” said the document, believed to have been distributed among PKR MPs to guide them on how to vote for the budget.

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