A new law gazetted today will temporarily allow the Finance Ministry to approve additional spending of the federal government’s funds beyond the initial Budget without going through the usual route of seeking Parliament’s approval, during the nationwide Emergency in Malaysia.
Malaysia has been put under a state of Emergency from January 11 until the expected end date of August 1 unless lifted earlier. During this period, Parliament and state legislative assemblies — which typically play the role of checks and balance on the executive branch of the government — have been suspended until further notice.
In the new law titled Emergency (Essential Powers) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021, it amends an earlier Emergency ordinance gazetted on January 14 by allowing such approvals without requiring the usual scrutiny by Parliament.
According to the new law, mentri besar and chief ministers of states in Malaysia will similarly be able to approve additional spending in state government funds beyond the initial budget without having to get approval of state legislative assemblies.
This was done through the new law’s introduction of Section 10B into the original Emergency Ordinance, with this new provision titled “Temporary financial provisions”.
Under Section 10B, the Treasury can approve any supplementary expenditure or withdrawals from the Federal Consolidated Fund — which would require the Dewan Rakyat to pass resolutions and to enact an Act of Parliament on — in a manner provided by any written law or any Treasury Instructions or Treasury Circulars that are in force, despite any provisions in the Federal Constitution on government expenditure from the Federal Consolidated Fund.
Similarly, under Section 10B, any supplementary expenditure — that would require approval via a state enactment or resolutions from state legislative assemblies — and the withdrawal of funds from a state’s Consolidated Fund can also be made with the approval of a mentri besar or chief minister of a state.
Under Section 10B, the temporary financial provisions would apply as long as the Emergency remains in force.
This new law takes effect from today (March 31). – MMO