A once-a-week, half-day session for opposition MPs to table their private member bills, including no-confidence motions, in Parliament would prevent the ongoing Supply Bill 2021 debates from being politicised, suggested Subang MP Wong Chen.
On Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun’s explanation that he had no powers to speed up the debate on a private member’s motion, Wong (above) said that may be correct in terms of procedure but arguable in terms of constitutionality.
“Many of us disagree with this view. A majority of constitutional experts are of the view that a no-confidence motion is a basic democratic right to test the legitimacy of a government,” said Wong in his debate of the budget in the Dewan Rakyat.
“If MPs have no other avenue to table a no-confidence motion, the final option to test the legitimacy of the government is through the voting of this budget.
Wong argued that an agreement by the government and Azhar to adopt the measure would put an end to the politicisation of the budget.
“The budget debates will stop being a political battleground and return to the basic issues of the government’s finances,” he said.
Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz had, prior to the tabling of Budget 2021 last Friday, met with MPs from the government and opposition to seek their bipartisan support, but Wong today said the final speech had omitted most of Pakatan Harapan’s demands.
Since the start of the budget debates on Monday, BN backbenchers chief Najib Razak had declared his members’ “conditional support” for Budget 2021, while former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad earlier today reserved his stand and those of three other independent MPs from Pejuang.
Prior to the start of the current Parliament session, Azhar had reinforced his stand on why a private member’s motion will not take precedence over government matters unless supported by a government MP.
This follows his response to Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s request for an initial no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, filed by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, to be voted on.
Azhar had at the time reportedly requested the veteran Umno MP to raise the matter with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Takiyuddin Hassan.
Since then, Muhyiddin is faced with a long list of no-confidence motions, but the volume is unlikely to change the technical aspect of the Parliament Order Paper.