PUTRAJAYA: Pakatan Harapan (PH) has made six suggestions on budget 2021 during an engagement session with Finance Minister Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz on Sunday (Nov 1).
Among the suggestions made were to increase the budget allocation for the Health Ministry to address the COVID-19 pandemic and non-communicable diseases, as well as to extend the loan repayment moratorium period until Mar 31, 2021, said People’s Justice Party (PKR) secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.
PH also suggested the enhancement of social protection, security network and welfare payments to the vulnerable and the unemployed by increasing welfare assistance to RM1,000 (US$329).
It also called for wage subsidies until Mar 31 next year, as well as 600,000 jobs to be created.
Mr Saifuddin added that PH also recommended the increase of education expenditure and allocating development expenditure for projects related to the fibre optic and connectivity plans, as well as the upgrading of water infrastructures in Selangor, Kelantan and Pahang.
“We hope these suggestions can be considered and included in budget 2021,” he told reporters after the two-hour session at the finance ministry, which was also attended by Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu, the Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and nine other PH representatives.
“We are waiting for the next step and response from the government,” he added.
Mr Saifuddin said the session went well and was carried out to respect the call by Malaysia's King King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, who advised members of the parliament to give their undivided support to budget 2021 that will be tabled on Nov 6.
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“It is important for the government and the opposition to work together in preparing a specific budget to help Malaysians overcome and survive the COVID-19 crisis,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Lim said budget 2021 would be very historical and critical in shaping the future of the country’s economy.
“Therefore, expenditure should be increased. If our financial resources are insufficient, we must borrow. There is no other option because the economic situation is very bad,” he said.
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Mr Mohamad Sabu, on the other hand, emphasised that the budget must be implemented effectively to achieve its aims and avoid leakage.
Earlier, Mr Zafrul also held separate sessions with representatives from the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) and Gabungan Parti Sarawak to discuss budget 2021.