KUALA LUMPUR: After 12 days of heated debates, the Dewan Rakyat today passed the country’s biggest Budget at the policy stage, much to the relief of a majority of the members of the public who were hoping for a reprieve from their current financial strains.
Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun, who presided over the session, put the Budget to a vote which was passed through a majority voice at about 3.30pm after Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz completed his winding-up speech, today.
Opposition members had failed to call for bloc voting, after it did not meet the minimum number of Members of Parliament required for a vote. Only 13 members, mostly from former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s newly-formed party, PEJUANG, voted against the budget.
The RM322.5 billion 2021 Budget was tabled by Zafrul on Nov 6 and is the first since Perikatan Nasional took over Putrajaya. In his winding-up speech, Zafrul had announced two very important issues of which the public had been waiting for: 1. Allowing the withdrawal from Account 1 of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) through the i-Sinar programme offered to all eight million members who face financial problems. Withdrawal is capped at RM10,000. 2. Extending the moratorium for loans, automatically for the B40s while the M40s only need to make a self-declaration.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Riâayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah expressed his appreciation to all the Members of Parliament who supported Budget 2021 in today’s Dewan Rakyat sitting.
On 28 October this year, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong had called on the MPs to support the budget for the sake of the welfare and security of the people and the country’s well-being, especially in view of the current COVID-19 pandemic and economic condition of the country. – New Malaysia Herald