Opposition MPs object to limit ministers’ Budget winding-up speeches

23 Nov 2020 / 16:47 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition MPs led by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today objected to the decision to limit the Budget debate winding-up speeches by ministers.

Anwar (PH-Port Dickson), who is Opposition Leader, sparked it off when he asked Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun to reconsider the 80-person limit per sitting for such a crucial matter.

“MPs should be allowed to listen to and interject speeches for the purpose of raising questions.

“The Dewan Rakyat is a place to debate during the ministerial reply time and more time should be given for the replies,“ he said.

Four ministries have replied on Budget 2021 – the Prime Minister’s Department, International Trade and Industry Ministry, Defence Ministry and Works Ministry.

Each ministry was given 20 minutes compared with almost one hour previously.

Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir (Ind-Jerlun) requested that the sitting be extended beyond 2pm as only four ministries were allowed to reply in each session.

He said there may not be enough time to debate the budget.

“Previously Parliament would sit sometimes until 2am to complete its business,“ he said.

Azhar pointed out to the MPs after listening to their grouses that he was willing to discuss the decision made through a consensus of party whips over Covid-19 concerns.

He said to date no MP until today had contacted him after the matter was raised.

“My office is always open (for the MPs). I am even willing to come to the office on Sunday night, hould anyone want to discuss the matter with me,“ he said.

Before ordering the winding-up speeches by ministers on the Budget debate to start, Azhar said every MP knew his WhatsApp (number) and could contact him at any time, but none did.

Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (BN-Arau) said the matter should be resolved by engaging party whips or party leaders, instead of being debated during the Parliament sitting.

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