THE finance minister and other government leaders have no basis to threaten lawmakers that civil servants won’t be paid their salaries and allowances if Budget 2021 is not passed, said Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The former prime minister said during his first term, Budget 2000, which was tabled in October of that year, was not approved as Parliament was dissolved soon after for the 10th general election in 1999.
“After the election ended, the government with its new mandate secured an early allocation for government expenditure for a period of two or three months.
“This was done while waiting for a special budget meeting in February 2000. This initial allocation ensured the administration could carry and civil servants, pensioners and allowances could be paid without a hitch,” he said in a statement today.
“For me, if this budget can help our country then there is no reason for it not to be approved. If it’s rejected, in terms of the economy, we will not be able to fund the government’s commitments, including disbursing aid to the people,” the finance minister said.
Dr Mahathir said given the context of what had happened in 1999, the finance minister and other government leaders are being irresponsible with their statements, which are subtle threats to pressure lawmakers into passing the Budget 2021.
The Langkawi MP said such statements are aimed at preventing MPs from carrying out their responsibilities to ensure that the budget catered for the interest of the public and not the ruling party.
“Based on the finance minister and other government leaders’ statement, if the budget is rejected, the public and civil servants will suffer because of the lawmakers’ attitude in rejecting it.
“If this is the stand of the finance minister and government leaders, it means that the parliamentarians are to give a ‘blank cheque’ and support the budget even though there are deficiencies in the budget.”
Leaders fearing a loss of power should stop making statements aimed at frightening the people, he said.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has also singled out the Tengku Zafrul over the claim.
The PKR president slammed the finance minister for his “tasteless statement that seems to be a threat and part of a plan to cast aside the voice of the majority of MPs”
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT