We are not out of the woods yet

Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

2021 Budget

KUCHING: With its approval at the policy stage, there are still two more hurdles to go for 2021 Budget to be fully passed, said Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

He said it is important to get through the second reading of the Bill for the budget as it allows the members of parliament (MPs) to scrutinise the details at the committee stage.

“Next, there is the critical third reading call for voting or division, where parliament eventually passes the budget. In other words, for now, we have cleared the first hurdle, but we are not out of the wood yet,” he said today.

He also registered appreciation to the MPs from the opposition who did not stand up to demand for the ‘division votes count’ — which required the support of a minimum of 15 MPs for the Speaker to call for a tally.

“Only 13 MPs from the opposition bench stood up (in support of the call). With the failure, the voice support was taken and in favour of the government,” he explained.

Wan Junaidi also said that the 2021 Budget’s main objectives apart from providing for salaries of the civil service, agencies and development, are to address the Covid-19 pandemic and to spur the economy resulting from the movement control order (MCO) and weakened global economy.

“Delay in the budget means delay to all strategic projects’ implementation like Pan Borneo Highway in Sarawak and Sabah and other projects throughout the country. This will worsen the economy as a whole.

“What about millions of small and medium enterprises or industries (SME/SMI) including informal businesses that cannot get support and assistance from the government? The unemployment and livelihood of millions in the B40 group?” he questioned.

He opined that any MP who did not support the budget would appear to block the government’s good intention to help the nation and the people.

“But this could not be translated into support for Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin or Perikatan Nasional (PN) government on other issues.

“Nevertheless, the 2021 Budget reflects the prime minister’s good leadership thus, eventually leads to good rating by the people and electorates,” he added.