For the first time in the country’s history, the government of the day was on the doldrums wondering if the proposed National Budget could pass Parliament due to its shaky political standing. Being a ruling coalition with a slim majority Perikatan Nasional needed every single of its friendly party MP’s to give an aye or the situation could leave PN in an embarrassing position.
However, thankfully this did not happen, after 10 days of debate the loosely bandied coalition came through with 111 MP’s voting in favour while 108 voted against. This will not only be the first ever national budget under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to be passed but also the biggest with RM322.5 billion, a much needed sum to stave off the slipping economy.
Earlier these ministries had their respective budget facing blocs but eventually being passed, they were the Finance Ministry; Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry; Federal Territories Ministry; International Trade and Industry Ministry; Prime Minister’s Department; Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry; Transport Ministry; Housing and Local Government Ministry; and Communications and Multimedia Ministry. Having gone through the tough stages, these ministries can now focus on what lies ahead, 2021 is going to be very challenging and they need all the time they can get to act quickly on the plans laid out in the Budget.
With all blockades now removed and the budget passed, its time to set aside politics and focus on mending our severely affected economy. All 23 ministries have a role to play, business is no longer as usual, borders are still closed, Covid-19 continues to ravage and lives will have to continue, they (Ministers) must ensure strategies are executed diligently and efficiently. 2021 has no place for leakages with every sen accounted for and used to preserve the well being of the people and spur the economy.
The nation will be scrutinising every action the government takes, these are unprecedented times and margin for mistakes are very thin. The Prime Minister has a heavy burden on his shoulders, the MP’s have trusted his leadership and given the support, now its time for the cabinet to deliver. A monthly report card or audit of the Budget spending should be produced by every Ministry, this will offer the public a sense of transparency and would also provide stakeholders some accountability.
We are all part of the battle and ‘inclusivity’ should be the mantra.