The 2021 budget debate in the Dewan Rakyat came to an end today with the government scoring another victory in its final reading, following weeks of speculation on MPs’ support for the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
The third reading of the budget was passed with 111 votes against 108. There was one absentee: Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
This follows days of intense debate since Nov 30 on allocations for 27 ministries, all of which were passed, nine of them through bloc vote.
The 2021 budget, the first by the PN government since it was formed on the back of the Covid-19 crisis in March this year, has been keenly followed for its political ramifications as any failure to approve the allocations could be interpreted as a loss of confidence in Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
A much expected vote on Nov 26 did not materialise after Pakatan Harapan MPs were instructed to stand down at the last minute by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. Several MPs who stood up to demand a bloc vote failed to achieve the minimum number, causing the budget to be passed by voice vote.
What followed were failed attempts by opposition MPs to shoot down allocations for nine ministries.
They did not challenge the budgets for the 18 others.