Budget restores confidence, says analyst

Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi

KUCHING: With 2021 Budget being passed at the policy level in Parliament on Thursday, it was able restore the public’s faith in the institution.

Universiti Malaya (UM) political analyst Prof Madya Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said this was obtained through government machinery and a mature opposition.

“The passing of the Budget at the policy level is a sigh of relief for the people who were worried that it might not pass.

“This includes the aspect of Employee Provident Fund (EPF) as well as moratorium which has been agreed to be amended in terms of policy,” he said when contacted today.

Dr Awang Azman said with the opposition bloc’s agreeing to pass the 2021 Budget, it showed that they heeded the decree by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“However, there is still a committee stage which will deliberate in detail all aspects of the Budget where the finance minister will need to provide a detailed explanation to convince the MPs.

“If that is not the case, then MPs and the opposition will be able to reject the Budget at the third reading,” he said.

On Thursday, after two weeks of debates and four days of winding-up sessions by the relevant ministers at the Dewan Rakyat, the Supply Bill or 2021 Budget was passed at the policy stage.

It was approved with a majority voice vote after attempts by several MPs to initiate bloc voting failed when only 13 MPs stood up, less than the required 15.

An allocation totalling RM322.5 billion was proposed under the budget, making it the biggest ever in the country’s history, mainly to help the government to handle and cushion the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the people and the country.

Of the total, RM236.5 billion (73.3 percent) will be channelled to operating expenditure, RM69 billion or 21.4 percent to development expenditure and RM17 billion (5.3 percent) to the Covid-19 Fund.

According to the Dewan Rakyat calendar, the budget will be debated at the committee stage for 10 days starting Monday.