KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 18 — Pakatan Harapan (PH) has decided to seek voice votes during Budget 2022’s policy stage next week as the coalition objected to some parts of the federal spending plan, its presidential council said today.
In a statement, the council said the coalition has had several engagement sessions with the federal government to present its views and stance in regards to policy matters but without satisfactory outcomes.
“Therefore, at the policy stage of Budget 2022, since we are unable to reach a consensus on several issues, PH has decided to cast their vote through a voice vote.
“For the approval process of Budget 2022 during the committee stage on Monday, November 22, PH will continue to play its role in scrutinising, as a check and balance and striving for the rights of all Malaysians regardless of their race, religion, gender and region,” it said.
A voice vote occurs when members of parliament call out “Setuju” (Aye) or “Tidak” (No) when a question is first put by the Speaker.
MPs also have an option to invoke a “bloc vote” where votes will be tallied among all MPs present and recorded in the Hansard.
Last year, both government and Opposition lawmakers made themselves heard without a clear vocal majority following Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz’s Budget 2021 winding-up speech during the policy stage.
However, only 13 lawmakers were in favour of opposing the voice vote, two short of required numbers to trigger the bloc vote.
The coalition also said it has unanimously decided to continue talks with the government on Budget 2022 for the sake of the people’s fairness as additional allocations spent prudently will not affect the country’s debt or deficit level significantly but may yet be critical in saving the lives and livelihoods of the people.
The coalition further stressed the need for increased budget allocations for Sabah, Sarawak and Malaysians facing problems due to the Covid-19 pandemic and economic recession.
They argued that the Budget was supposed to represent and safeguard all Malaysians based on their needs regardless of their race, religion and background.
“Even though there is an additional allocation, it is still insufficient to ensure a fair Budget for all.
“Even though we appreciate the need to control the Budget’s deficit, it is necessary to spend courageously to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, assist businesses and the people so they can sustain,” they said.
The statement was jointly signed by the leaders of PH’s four component parties, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu, UPKO president Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.