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Deputy Speaker Azalina raps finance minister, deputies for absence in Parliament during Budget 2021 debates

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Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz tables Budget 2021 in Parliament November 6, 2020. ― Bernama pic
Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz tables Budget 2021 in Parliament November 6, 2020. ― Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said has ruled that the Finance Ministry must send at least one representative to be present during debates on the Budget 2021 Bill.

Azalina said either Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Aziz, or one of his two deputies, Datuk Abd Rahim Bakri or Mohd Shahar Abdullah, should be present during the debates considering the importance of the 2021 Budget Bill.

She was responding to DAP’s Jelutong MP RSN Rayer, who had earlier asked why the Finance Minister or any of the ministry’s representatives were not present to listen in on the Budget debates.

“I agree with what Rayer said earlier and I believe either the finance minister or his deputies should be here to listen to the Budget debates.

“I know everyone is busy but the Budget is an important issue. Yet, I don’t see any ministers here,” she said at the end of today’s debate session.

During the start of the debate on the Budget, Rayer had raised the issue with Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun but was given the reason that no Standing Order stipulates this rule.

Although Azalina’s ruling is seen as contradictory to the Speaker’s ruling, she cited appropriateness for the finance minister or one of his deputies to be present during the Budget debates.

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