Dewan Rakyat passes RM7b Supplementary Supply Bill

Pic By HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

The Dewan Rakyat approved the Supplementary Supply (2017) Bill 2018, seeking an additional RM7.123 billion by a majority vote without any amendments. 

The government tabled the bill for the third reading yesterday, which saw the majority of the house approving the additional budget after being debated at the committee stage.

It comprises an allocation of RM8.83 billion from the consolidated fund for additional expenditure on services and expenses.

Out of the total amount, RM7.79 billion will be for operating expenditure (opex) and RM1.05 billion for development expenditure (DE).

The total opex comprises RM7.12 billion for supplies expenses such as ministries’ activities and RM663.5 million for other expenses, including allowances to royal families, judges and pensions.

The bill was tabled for the first reading by Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani last week and the second reading was done on Monday.

It came on top of the country’s Budget 2017 of RM260.8 billion tabled earlier by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak, who is also the finance minister.

Johari said the additional allocation is necessary in view of several unavoidable important matters.

“Government agencies have to adhere to the existing budget allocation. However, if they need an additional budget, they have to produce justification to enable them to continue with the programmes.

“Unless, of course, there is a catastrophe which calls for an immediate allocation,” he said while winding up the debate on the bill.

In justifying the extra budget in the Dewan Rakyat, Johari said the largest item under the supplementary budget — a RM2.71 billion “contribution to statutory funds” — is necessary to reduce the debt requirement for DE.

“It is not considered as part of real expenditure, but rather “excess (government) revenue over expenditure that we transfer into development funds”, he said.

The other bigger expenditures include RM891.1 million by the Ministry of Education, RM804.27 million by the Ministry of Home Affairs, RM685.49 million by the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, RM479.07 million by the Ministry of Health, RM425.41 million by the Ministry of Higher Educat ion and RM395.74 million by the Public Service Department.

Johari also said each budget tabling included total contingencies for opex and DE amounting to RM1.5 billion and RM2 billion respectively.

He explained that the government must table the budget every other year to rectify on spending that they could not have detailed during the initial budget tabling.

“The government has improved the accuracy of its spending estimates, now that the supplementary budget tabling is only done once a year, from up to four times previously.

“We have improved the efficiency of our budget calculation and our budget is almost accurate, we have achieved the budget deficit (target),” he said.

To recall, this is not the first time the government is tabling such a supplementary bill. Last year, it tabled a supplementary supply bill for an additional RM3.08 billion.