Three more ministries’ budget passed

MPs approve allocations for Foreign Ministry and National Unity Ministry through voice votes, while approval for MPIC came through bloc voting

pic by BERNAMA

PERIKATAN Nasional (PN) continues to gain majority after lawmakers approved the expenditures allocated under Budget 2021 for another three ministries during the second sitting at the committee stage.

Yesterday, MPs approved the allocations for the Foreign Ministry and National Unity Ministry through simple voice votes, while approval for the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry’s (MPIC) expenditure came through bloc voting.

During the tabling of Budget 2021 earlier this month, the government announced that RM777.9 million will be reserved to fund the Foreign Ministry, representing 0.24% of the total budget.

In his winding-up speech, Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar said there is no necessity to label other countries according to their policies.

“Our relationship with the US is bilateral and both are free and independent countries. The US has its own policies and action plans and Malaysia has its own policies, and they are not influenced by other countries.

“We will make our stance if any countries are implementing issues that are not aligned with what Malaysia stands for, but there is no need to give labels to others,” he said.

He was responding to a remark made by Dr Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh (PAS-Pasir Puteh) that countries such as the US should be labelled as “terrorist” for issuing threats to other countries.

Nik Muhammad said the government has to be firm in its stance against the US and step on global issues involving Muslims such as the Rohingya conflict in Myanmar and the dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.

Responding to other remarks, Kamarudin said the government will continue to seek resolution over the conflicts involving the South China Sea.

“Recently, the foreign minister mentioned that Malaysia has several ways to communicate with China over the issue.

“It is not easy to resolve the South China Sea issue and we will continue to discuss the matter through several platforms at different levels including diplomacy, and it will continue to be one of the issues that will be discussed,” he said.

Meanwhile, MPIC will receive RM729.4 million or 0.23% from the total expenditure approved through a bloc vote of 108 to 95 with 17 absentees.

It is the third ministry to receive the approval through voting after the Prime Minister’s Department and Finance Ministry on Monday.

Responding to a remark on cess duty, Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Willie Mongin said the additional levy of RM5 under the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) Cess Order 2020 is still being reviewed by the palm oil board.

“The additional RM5 cess has not been confirmed and it is still being reviewed by MPOB. The palm oil board has opened a platform for feedback and suggestions from industry players and stakeholders which ended on Monday,” he said in his winding-up speech.

The new cess order would raise the amount paid for each tonne of crude palm oil and crude palm kernel oil produced to RM19 per tonne from RM14 currently, beginning Jan 1, 2021.

Responding to a remark made by Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman for the government to study the imposition of a windfall tax on downstream sectors, Mongin said industries such as glove manufacturing are not heavily reliant on raw material from Malaysia.

“We listen to suggestions to impose windfall tax to downstream sectors such as the glove industry. However, these industries use imported raw materials and only a small percentage from Malaysia.

“But, they give back to the country through corporate social responsibility programmes such as the RM400 million donation to the Covid-19 fund,” he said.

Dewan Rakyat resumes its debate today and will vote for the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry, Rural Development Ministry, and Energy and Natural Resources Ministry’s expenditures for 2021.

Read our earlier report


Dewan Rakyat passes budget for three ministries today