KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 — After the 2021 Budget passed at the policy level, the allocations for 11 ministries was passed at the committee level in the fifth week of the Dewan Rakyat sitting after being debated, wound up and through a majority vote and bloc voting process.
There are MPs who described it as an 11-0 victory for the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, after the 2021 budget allocation for all 11 ministries debated this week passed at the committee level, with four of them through a bloc voting process.
On Monday, the Supply Bill or Budget 2021 for the Prime Minister’s Department (JPM) was passed at committee level through a bloc voting process which saw 105 MPs voting in favour of the bill, while 95 voted against it and 20 were absent.
Also passed, via bloc voting, in that day’s sitting was the allocation for the Ministry of Finance (MOF) after 106 MPs voted for it, 95 against and 18 absent.
The other two ministries whose allocations passed at committee level, through a bloc voting process, were the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (108 MPs voted in favour; 95 voted against with seven absent), and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (110 in favour; 104 against and six absent).
Meanwhile, the allocations for seven others, namely, the Foreign Ministry; National Unity Ministry; Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry; Rural Development Ministry; Energy and Natural Resources Ministry; Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry as well as Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Ministry, were passed by a majority vote.
Budget allocations for 11 more ministries are scheduled to be debated and passed at the committee level in next week’s sitting.
Among those expected to attract the attention of lawmakers is the allocation for Ministry of Health, to be debated on Wednesday (Dec 9), which has been one of the main focuses of the 2021 Budget, to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apart from that, the allocation for the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, on Thursday (Dec 10) is also expected to be hotly debated due to the allocation for the Department of Special Affairs (JASA) which has become a dispute among MPs.
The government, however, agreed to rebrand JASA as the Department of Community Communications (J-KOM) with different roles and functions.
Also in this week’s sitting, Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahya’s mistake in the counting of the bloc votes to pass the budget for the MOF has caused a war of words among lawmakers.
Shabudin (Bersatu-Tasek Gelugor) who was responsible for counting the votes for MPs in Bloc C, had miscounted the votes after ticking Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz as being in favour of the budget, even though the latter was absent during the bloc voting on Tuesday (Dec 1).
The mistake, disclosed to MPs through a Speaker’s Announcement read out by Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon after Question Time, however, did not change the result of the bloc voting.
The Dewan Rakyat session on that day also did not start smoothly when the fire alarm went off and interrupted the sitting for about 15 minutes, causing MPs and staff to be ordered out of the Parliament building as a safety measure.
The Parliament Security Division then conducted the necessary inspection and found nothing untoward.