Defeating the Budget: Why not now? Why later?

Photograph: Wikimedia Commons

If Pakatan Harapan cannot succeed at the policy stage, how definite is PH that on 17 December it will not fail to defeat the Budget, P Ramakrishnan asks.

Malaysians were baffled and disappointed with the last minute strategy adopted by Pakatan Harapan not to defeat the budget at the policy stage.

We are made to understand that they will vigorously fight at the committee stage and call for a block vote on 17 December to defeat the Budget. What is the difference? That is my question.

Will it make a difference whether Budget 2021 is defeated now or later? What is the advantage? That is my question.

We are informed that those Umno rebels who were supposed to support PH’s decision to oppose the Budget had gone back on their word. How sure is PH that these very turncoats will return to support it later? That is also my question.

Your original opposition to the Budget was based on the fact that it was discriminatory, unfair, lopsided, did not address the core issues of poverty and the burdensome mammoth debt that we are saddled with and so forth. Are these issues of concern still in the Budget that was passed yesterday? That is my question.

Those troubling issues, as Malaysians understand, are still there in the Budget. They have not been dropped. The allocations for Jasa have not been cancelled. The allocations for the Indians and Chinese have not increased. What has changed to deserve PH’s support? That is my question.

As we see it, nothing has changed except that now some additional goodies have been thrown in and promised. Are these inducements and subtle bribery provided to seek PH’s support? Have these goodies whitewashed altogether the original unfairness in the Budget to remove all of PH’s objections? That is also my question.

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Well, according to thousands of Malaysians, the unfairness of the Budget is not a perceived injustice but a fact that is staring at them on a daily basis. The unfairness is not a perceived injustice but a real denial of equal treatment to the needy, irrespective of colour and creed. Have the goodies removed all these wrongs? That is also a question.

A question was raised why there was no objection when the PH Budget last year provided for RM12.8bn for the Malays and bumiputras. Did Budget 2020 provide RM100m for Indians and RM177m for the Chinese to object? Were the allocations for them equitable and fair? When there was no glaring disparity why should they vehemently object? That is my question.

It is claimed the defeat of the Budget would affect the salaries of government servants and deprive services to the people. But didn’t these people also argue that the incoming government can present an alternative budget and get it passed? It was also observed that there is a constitutional provision to pass a provisional budget to tide over the immediate needs. So what is the problem? That is also a question.

If PH cannot succeed at the policy stage, how definite is PH that on 17 December it will not fail to defeat the Budget? That is also my question.

It has also been explained there was this fear PH would be perceived as having rejected the additional goodies for the people – a fear that is without merit. After all, the alternative budget it has been speaking about would have taken care of this grievance, and what would be allocated in the alternative budget would have addressed the needs of the poor. So what is the rationale? That is my question.

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Friends, there comes a time when inaction is also seen as a betrayal.

I rest my case.

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Politi Scheiss
Politi Scheiss
1 Dec 2020 4.03am

From these more recent reports, it looks like Anwar suddenly decided on a “Plan B” when he realised that he did not have the numbers in parliament to defeat the budget last Thursday:-

PN wins two bloc votes for Budget 2021 allocations
https://www.thevibes.com/articles/news/7938/pn-wins-two-bloc-votes-for-budget-2021-allocations

Warisan whip says MPs sat out Budget 2021 bloc vote to show Anwar, Pakatan they’re no pushovers
https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/11/30/warisan-whip-says-mps-sat-out-budget-2021-bloc-vote-to-show-anwar-pakatan-t/1927572

Perhaps he should have briefed all Pakatan and allied MPs of his “Plan-B”.

Politi Scheiss
Politi Scheiss
30 Nov 2020 11.51am

In theory running independents looks like a good idea but in practice independents and even small parties which run one or two candidates have lost badly.

Just look at how PRM and MUP fared in Tanjong Bungah in 2018 and how Dr. Jeyakumar, twice elected Sungai Siput MP in 2008 and 2013 under a big party ticket lost badly in 2018 under his own PSM ticket.

I guess this is because voters believe that a big party which runs many candidates has a bigger voice in parliament than an independent or a small party candidate.

Also, assuming enough independents can win enough seats to form a government, what will be the direction of that government when different MPs have different and even conflicting ideas of what direction they want to go in.

DOMINIC DAMIAN’s iPad
29 Nov 2020 9.03am

I am very brutal on how this played out. The opposition lacked the courage, integrity or moral imperative to do what was right. They were subversive, betrayed us all and shot themselves in the foot and have impacted us all. I won’t ask what was their loss! It is rather what was their gain? How dare they toy around with the people’s mandate ? The whole lot should get out, enough is enough, let us have independent candidates without the enslavement of party affiliations to the Demi gods who control them

Politi Scheiss
Politi Scheiss
28 Nov 2020 5.56am

OK. If the budget is defeated, what to you hope will be achieved?
If PH puts forward its alternative budget, what chance is there of it being passed?
If the budget defeat results in the collapse of PN government and a snap GE is called, what chance is there that PH will win?
If no snap GE but the Agong has to pick a new PM, what chance will it be Anwar or another PH prime minister and government?
Would it not make more sense for PH to negotiate for and support a fairer and more inclusive budget with the amendments they demanded?

loyal malaysian
loyal malaysian
27 Nov 2020 8.56pm

Good of you, Rama to call out the inaction of PH minus with regards Budget 2021 yesterday.
Yes, let’s not mince words nor hide behind a play of words – PH minus did not have the votes to defeat the backdoor govt. yesterday.
It will also not have the votes come Dec.17th to defeat Budget 2021.
What is, is.

Politi Scheiss
Politi Scheiss
28 Nov 2020 10.51am

However, will they be able to get some of their proposals accepted into the budget in the sessions from Monday onwards, thus having their say in what could be a bi-partisan government cum opposition budget? This would be a compromise solution if it materialises.

loyal malaysian
loyal malaysian
28 Nov 2020 3.23pm
Reply to  Politi Scheiss

That will be great if it comes to pass.
I have no love loss for this backdoor govt. but in the challenging circumstances resulting from the pandemic, a compromise makes the best political sense.