27 November 2020

Hanya 13 MP berdiri, yang lain sakit lutut...

Ulasan Anwar dan Pimpinan2 Pakatan Harapan ...

Kementerian Kewangan dah sedia untuk ubah belajawan sekiranya undian peringkat pertama diluluskan.. Jadi kita tunggu peringkat jawatan kuasa pula.. Pengundian hari ini adalah kekangan pertama yang perlu dilalui belanjawan kerajaan pintu belakang PN. 

Selepas ini ia akan dibawa ke peringkat jawatankuasa untuk dibahaskan sebelum ia sekali lagi diundi sebelum diluluskan...

Menteri Kewangan dah ejas bajet dan bagi lampu hijau kat  KWSP dan juga ejas moratorium yang dijangka akan memberi manfaat kepada rakyat - KWSP one-off dan moratorium 6 bulan - perluaskan pemberian elaun kepada semua frontliners2 lain termasuk polis,tentera,petani,
nelayan etc..etc.. adalah perkara2 sepertimana yang dituntut  oleh pihak Pembangkang. 

Menteri Kewangan juga janji untuk kurangan peruntukkan kepada Jasa dan peranan Jasa juga akan berubah sepertimana yang dijanjikan oleh Menteri Komunikasi dan Multimedia (KKMM) kelmarin. Dengaq cerita MP2 PH terima WhatsApp saat terakhir...

Jadi takkan nak suruh PH berdiri bantah??  Yg lain2 tu belum lagi.. Bajet baru lulus di peringkat polisi saja. Tunggulah perbahasan bajet ini di peringkat Jawatankuasa nanti utk lihat samada apa yang dijanji MOF itu dilaksanakan atau tidak.Bacaan ketiga tu yang penting... Bagi aku yang peliknya PH pun masih dok bermain2 aci lop dengan penyamun2 ni, bukankah hangpa dah tau depa tu kaki penipu.. 

Mungkin Bang Non sedaq tanpa sokongan UMNO maka dia tak cukup MP utk menang dlm undian bajet ini. Jadi lebih baik dia malukan Dr.M saja dgn tak bangkit apabila Dr.M berdiri tegak bersama 12 MP2 lain...- dr.ts

Anwar - Budget 2021 not passed yet...

The opposition’s decision to allow Budget 2021 to be passed at the policy stage in the Dewan Rakyat does not mean that the same will be done at the committee stage and during the final reading. Asserting this, opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim explained that he had asked opposition MPs to let today’s voting to go through after taking into account several “new goodies” that were announced by Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz for the people and frontliners. 

However, he noted that many of the opposition’s demands are still unmet, including additional funding for their constituencies and more aid for the poor, he said. Tengku Zafrul has also failed to elucidate the government’s growth and revenue projections, he added.  “I don’t want to be seen to be ignoring some of the measures taken (to assist the people). I feel that as the opposition, for now, we should allow the budget to be passed,” the PKR president and Port Dickson MP told reporters at Parliament building today. 

“But there’s no guarantee we are going to approve (the budget in full). Because on Monday, it will be at the committee stage, where each item under every ministry will be deliberated on at length.  “We will certainly choose to reject and call for bloc voting when deemed necessary. And whether we are going to approve the budget as a whole will be (seen) in the third and final reading,” he said.

“As such, it’s still too early for them (the Perikatan Nasional government) to celebrate excessively. We (the opposition) are not thinking about political victory, but the question should be on victory for the people.” 

Anwar said he had explained this decision to all 91 MPs, after a number of them raised their concern on his stand not to reject the Supply Bill.  They included DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is Bagan MP,  and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu who is MP for Kota Raja.

Earlier, the budget was passed at the policy stage via a simple voice vote, after only 13 MPs supported a call by Datuk Seri Mahfuz Omar (PH-Pokok Sena) for a bloc vote. There appeared to be confusion in the house as only MPs from Amanah and Pejuang stood up in support.

Anwar dismissed suggestions that the opposition’s decision to support the budget earlier was out of respect for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who had previously decreed for all MPs to back the bill. “The palace made some indication in that regard, but they also talked about inclusivity (in the budget) which did not happen. To our view, the issue of Covid-19 was largely ignored. “We do take cognisance of the Agong’s view, but our action (to possibly reject the budget at the next stage) does not necessarily run contrary to the spirit of the King’s message,” he said. 

The PKR president also rubbished Tengku Zafrul’s claim during his winding-up speech that the government had consulted the opposition prior to the budget, claiming that this was only done once and without much deliberation. “He’s claiming as though the budget was drafted after consulting us. Consulted who? I feel like he is not being honest,” Anwar said.

Meanwhile, Anwar told The Vibes that it is not right to object to or even support a bill that lacks clarity. “It would have been irresponsible of us as MPs to vote on a bill that we don’t have details about,” he said of the RM322.5 billion budget — the nation’s largest ever. “How is the government going to fund its initiatives? For example, the finance minister said that the Special Affairs Department (Jasa) would have its allocation slashed. But by how much? 50%? 5%?"

Jasa is the government propaganda unit under the Multimedia and Communications Ministry which was allocated RM85.5 million. “These are the questions we will be asking at the committee stage and on December 15 we shall debate this,” said Anwar.

He said the opposition is mindful of the fact that the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong had requested that a people-centric budget be passed. “We must respect His Majesty’s wishes and we want to support a budget for the people. But this also means we as parliamentarians must be certain that it is indeed a budget for economic recovery and to fight Covid-19, and not a political budget that is exclusive to certain groups,” he added. – The Vibes

How may Budget 2021 
be defeated or saved?...

After rumours that the second reading vote on Budget 2021 may be postponed, it now appears that it will go ahead today. As the government’s budget (technically called “supply bill”) may be rejected by the Parliament for the first time in Malaysia, it is important to understand how parliamentarianism works, so as not to fall prey to misinformation and disinformation.

Here are some basic facts:

First, scrutinising the budget is a key function of the Parliament. To ask MPs to unconditionally support a government budget is to ask them to abdicate their constitutional function.

Second, only ministers and deputy ministers are obliged to vote for the government’s budget while both opposition parliamentarians and government backbenchers have a free choice. Government parties have no power to stop their backbenchers from voting down the budget but can punish them afterwards.

Third, an outright defeat of the budget is equivalent to a loss of confidence in the government. Following this, the prime minister’s choice is to either resign or request for a fresh election. To seek a proclamation of emergency after a budget defeat is a coup against democracy and constitutional monarchy.

Fourth, passing a budget only requires a majority of MPs who vote, not a majority of all the MPs (112 votes). Truancy or abstention is effectively a 50% “No” vote for a government MP, and a 50% “Yes” vote for an opposition MP, if it becomes a showdown between both sides.

Fifth, a budget defeat will only affect next month’s salary of the prime minister and his ministers, not civil servants. Articles 99 and 102 of the Federal Constitution allow the Parliament to delay the budget and approve expenditure before passing of the budget. A government shutdown because of a budget stalemate only happens in post-1980 America. Spin doctors, please check your geographical location before fear mongering on this.

When can the budget be defeated?

Many mistake that if Muhyiddin survives today’s vote, then he survives 2020. Not true. The budget can be defeated outright at the end of both the second reading (today) and third reading (Dec 15), and defeated indirectly in countless opportunities at the committee stage between them.

A budget passed for the second reading (policy debate) can still be defeated at the third reading (final approval). As a budget defeat is an alternative form of a no-confidence vote, it is perfectly legitimate for MPs to vote down a budget at the third reading if they have lost confidence in the government. Like love, confidence is a subjective thing. If you lose it, you have lost it. Complaints cannot undo the loss.

Partial defeats in the committee stage?

More interesting are the partial defeats that may happen in the committee stage. Starting from the Prime Minister’s Department, there are 30 ministries’ budget lines to be approved. Each needs approval by the House, which upon the request of 15 MPs, has to take the form of actual voting (called “division”).

This means 30 (less when some ministries are bundled together) opportunities for the opposition to vote down the government. Of course, a mere rejection vote with no solid ground would invite accusations of “playing politics” or “damaging national interests” and public backlash.

However, if the opposition tables a motion with a solid ground, like the abolition of Jasa (government’s spin doctor unit) and transfer the money to some productive uses, as what Tuaran MP Wilfred Madius Tangau has proposed, the government will face a dilemma. If the government concedes, then it is a compromise and not a defeat. The government stays on while the budget gets modified.

However, if the government is bent on defeating such a motion, then it must ensure its victory. Otherwise, its defeat will raise the question of whether the government has lost its majority.

To rescue the prime minister, a motion of confidence in him must be immediately tabled and won. Hence, a budget defeat in the committee stage is only a partial defeat because it can be restored. However, if the prime minister dares not to table a motion of confidence, then his loss of majority would be confirmed by his fear. And a series of partial defeats will constitute a full defeat.

Muhyiddin his own worst enemy?

With the vacancies in Batu Sapi and Gerik, the government’s lead over the opposition is now 112 to 108. With Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah shrewdly boycotting the budget, the government’s lead will be reduced to three.

This means the absence or abstention of just four government MPs alone can bring down the government, even without outright defection, unless at least one opposition parliamentarian is also conveniently absent.The reasons for absence on both sides can be very innocent: food poisoning, chest pain, headache, minor accident and plenty more.

But who really decides whether the budget will get passed? Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin himself. Why? Neither opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, Razaleigh nor any other potential contender for the top job can build a “positive (majority) coalition” for an alternative government.

If they can - which requires the defection of substantial government MPs - Muhyiddin’s government would have collapsed months ago, as no royal blessing or speaker’s rulings could save Muhyiddin.

The difference the budget makes today is the chance to first establish a “negative coalition” against Muhyiddin before a “positive (majority) coalition” can be negotiated by the opposition and rebels. The negative coalition needs not 112 votes, but simply one more vote than Muhyiddin’s supporters. This enables revolt by truancy, which in turn allows rebels to claim innocence before Muhyiddin if the plot fails.

Here is the puzzling part - Muhyiddin seems to be his worst enemy by tabling a flawed budget, which is orientated towards GE15 instead of Covid-19, allowing his enemies to build a negative coalition. Muhyiddin helps the opposition and Umno to echo each other even though they can’t agree to form an alternative government for now.

Muhyiddin’s choice

Leading a de facto minority government, Muhyiddin has two Commonwealth examples to consider emulating.

The first is Canada’s nine-month prime minister Joe Clark (1979-1980). His Progressive Conservative Party held 136 (48%) out of 282 seats, against main opposition Liberals’ 112 (40%), New Democratic Party’s 26 (9%) and Social Credit Party’s 6 (2%).

He proposed a budget with a gasoline tax that caused the friendly Quebec opposition Social Credit to abstain. With three Conservative MPs overseas or in hospital, Clark lost his budget at 133:139 by a full force opposition of Liberals and New Democratic Party. Clark went down in history for his “inability to do math” because he acted as if he could govern without some opposition’s support.

The second is New Zealand’s current Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (above). From Malaysians’ lens, New Zealand would be an unstable country during her first term (2017-2020), and Ardern a weak leader heading a minority coalition government. Since her Labour Party won only 38.3% of parliamentary seats while her partner New Zealand First Party obtained only 7.5%, Ardern had to sign a “confidence and supply agreement” with the support of Green Party (6.7%).

But Ardern has led New Zealand through two crises in her first term: the Christchurch massacre and the Covid-19 pandemic. This enabled her to form New Zealand’s first majority government in October, the first since the country’s switch to the mixed member proportional (MMP) electoral system in 1996.

Muhyiddin’s propagandists – unfortunately, some journalists included - should stop telling Malaysians to choose between the budget or election. The real choice for Muhyiddin is to either make compromises with the opposition or risking a defeat at any time from today till Dec 15. If he is as mathematically challenged as Joe Clark, he must step down instead of locking down the country under emergency just to save his job. - Wong Chin Huat,mk


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