Sarawak Budget 2022 can be approved without DUN sitting

By John Isaac

THE 2022 State Budget can be approved without requiring a sitting of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) and its approval, said DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar.

He said such was stipulated in Section 11 of the current Emergency (Essential Powers) (Sarawak) Ordinance 2021 which said approval of the DUN is not needed.

“ln respect of the State Budget required for 2022, the need to get an approval from the State Legislative is immaterial. There are calls that we need a sitting to approve the Budget, this is immaterial,”

He said this during a press conference on the Emergency Proclamation at the DUN building yesterday.

“This means that the Chief Minister or the State Financial Authority can approve the 2022 State Budget without a DUN sitting and without DUN approving it,” he said as reported by New Sarawak Tribune.

Section 11 reads, “Notwithstanding any provision in the state constitution relating to expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of the State, any expenditure requiring an order or resolution of DUN and withdrawal from the consolidated fund of the state, for so long as the emergency is in force, any such expenditure or withdrawal from the Consolidated Fund of the State may be made with the approval of the Chief Minister or State Financial Authority.

“As the case may be in such manner provided by any written law or any Treasury instructions or Treasury Circulars relating thereto for the time being in force.”

Asfia also said there will be no DUN sitting during the Emergency period until Feb 2, next year, or when it is expected to expire.

Whilst the pressing problem in Parliament about when is the sitting, issues about when then DUN is going to be dissolved and when is the election was also addressed.

“Further, Section 4 of the current Emergency (Essential Powers) (Sarawak) Ordinance 2021 forbids any sitting of the DUN,” he added.

Section 4 read, “For so long as the emergency is in force, the provisions relating to the sitting of the DUN in the Constitution of the State of Sarawak shall have no effect.”

Asfia said the disrupted abrupt sittings in Dewan Rakyat underscored the gravity of Covid-19 and lends credence to Section 4 of the current Emergency (Essential Powers) (Sarawak) Ordinance 2021 in disallowing sittings of the DUN.