Anwar ticks off Zafrul over budget statement

By John Isaac

OPPOSITION leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has slammed Tengku Zafrul Aziz for saying Putrajaya will not be able to pay the salaries of civil servants if the budget is not passed in Parliament.

The PKR president said even if amendments were to be made to next year’s budget to improve it, emoluments for civil servants and expenditures for frontliners including medical and health equipment will not be affected.

“The finance minister said if the 2021 Budget tabled by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government fails to be approved, then it won’t be able to fulfil its commitments, such as paying civil servants’ salaries and that it will affect frontliners battling Covid-19.

“I think this is a tasteless statement that seems to be a threat and part of a plan to cast aside the voice of the majority of MPs,” he said in a statement which was carried in Free Malaysia Today.

Anwar said amendments could be made to produce a better budget that would yield greater benefits to the people without affecting core areas like salaries for civil servants and expenditures for frontliners.

“I reiterate my call to the government to restudy the 2021 Budget. The opposition will only support if it’s really a budget meant to fight Covid-19,” he said.

Yesterday, Tengku Zafrul said Putrajaya will not be able to fulfil its commitments, including paying civil servants’ wages and dispensing assistance for frontliners, if Parliament did not approve the budget.

“For me, if this budget can help our country then there is no reason for it not to be approved. If it’s rejected, in terms of the economy, we will not be able to fund the government’s commitments, including disbursing aid to the people,” the finance minister said.

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