by ASILA JALIL / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI
THE new law which allows the Ministry of Finance (MoF), mentri besar or chief ministers to approve any supplementary expenditure is not something new, and matters relating to the annual budget, as well as supplementary budget have been implemented previously.
Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz (picture) said various factors were taken into consideration for the development of the Emergency (Essential Powers) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 that was gazetted last week.
“The amendment is in line with the temporary financial provision in Section 3 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No 3, 1969 and 14 notices regarding treasury that were made from 1969 until 1971, which was the foundation for the amendment of the Emergency Ordinance (Essential Powers) 2021.
“The section relating to the temporary financial budget in the emergency ordinance is not new. Matters relating to the tabling of the annual budget and supplementary budget have been implemented during the emergency period from 1969 until 1971,” he said in a statement yesterday.
To ensure accountability and transparency, he said the MoF issued the Malaysia Treasury Circular which outlines matters on supplementary expenditure governance, and the process involved in the management of the supplementary budget throughout the emergency period.
He said the ordinance only touches on additional expenditure and is not tied to the preparation of the annual budget.
Therefore, the government will table Budget 2022 in Parliament, as stipulated in the Federal Constitution.
He stressed that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s decision to declare a nationwide emergency in January was to enable proactive measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“These measures are only temporary and not permanent. Once the emergency declaration is lifted, every move made by the government throughout the period will be tabled and questioned during the Parliament session at the Dewan Rakyat,” said Tengku Zafrul.
The minister added that the government’s main priority during the emergency is the utilisation of all existing policies and laws to protect the people and their source of income.
“Taking into account the need for a supplementary budget in an uncertain environment due to Covid-19, the federal and state governments requires flexibility to approve additional expenditure to overcome the health crisis and meet the rising needs to handle the direct impact of the pandemic towards everyone’s economic standing,” he added.
Malaysia is under a state of emergency until Aug 1, 2021, to mitigate and handle the spread of the virus in the country. It will, however, be lifted earlier if the pandemic is under control.
During the emergency period, the Parliament and state legislative assemblies have been suspended.
Read our previous report here