Budget 2022 passes first round as PH did not back bloc vote call

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Budget 2022 has passed the policy stage with a voice vote in the Dewan Rakyat today, as Warisan and Pejuang’s attempt to call for a bloc vote failed to garner support from Pakatan Harapan.

At least 15 MPs need to be in support of a bloc vote before it can be triggered. A bloc vote is where votes will be tallied among all MPs present and recorded in the Hansard.

Warisan and Pejuang were not signatories to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Harapan and Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s administration, signed on Sept 13.

Part of the agreement is for Harapan to support or abstain from the vote for Budget 2022 and any supply bill related to the budget.

As Dewan Rakyat speaker Azhar Azizan Harun called for a voice vote on the policy stage for Budget 2022, Azis Jamman (Warisan-Sepanggar) stood up to ask for a bloc vote.

Other MPs such as Warisan president Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Semporna) as well as Shahruddin Md Salleh (Pejuang-Sri Gading) joined Azis’ call for a bloc vote.

Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Independent-Muar) also confirmed that he had supported the call.

However, the Dewan Rakyat secretary informed Azhar that they did not reach the required quorum of 15 MPs for a bloc vote.

As such, Budget 2022 passed its policy stage with a voice vote. It will go into the committee stage next week, where more specific details of the budget will be debated.

Harapan had earlier said they will participate in the voice vote despite not agreeing with several matters in the budget.

The opposition coalition said they will continue to hold engagement sessions with the government over the budget.

Harapan will continue acting as a check and balance in the committee stage of Budget 2022 next week, it added.

Last year, there was disunity among opposition MPs in seeking the bloc vote on Budget 2021 at the policy stage.

Only 13 were in favour, two short of the required number to trigger the vote.