KUALA LUMPUR: Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Harun said that when ministerial answer time begins today, he will look into demands for more time and more MPs to be present.
Today, four ministries are reacting to the 2021 budget: the Department of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Works.
Compared to almost one hour ago, each ministry is only given 20 minutes.
“I will review your request,” Azhar said after several opposition MPs also demanded the elimination of the cap of 80 MPs imposed to curb Covid-19’s spread.
Anwar Ibrahim (PH-Port Dickson) was the first to make the proposal, saying that during the ministerial response period, the Dewan Rakyat is a place for discussion, with more MPs present and more time given for the answers.
Xavier Jayakumar (PH-Kuala Langat) and Johari Abdul (PH-Sungai Petani) sponsored this initiative.
The Dewan Rakyat sitting was then requested by Mukhriz Mahathir (Ind-Jerlun) to be extended beyond 2pm as only four ministries are permitted to respond today.
“Tomorrow, 7 more ministries. And the Ministry of Finance will respond on Thursday,” he said, adding that there may not be enough time to debate the budget.
Mukhriz argued that the Dewan Rakyat sitting continued until the wee hours of the morning, “sometimes until 2am in previous years, to discuss the budget.
He urged the speaker that his proposal be addressed. Azhar said, however that the nation is facing a pandemic of Covid-19 and steps need to be placed in place for safety reasons.
He said he would discuss the topic with the whips of the party.