Good morning. This is Budget Day and MPs will be heading to Parliament around 2 pm. The finance minister will read the budget speech at 3.30 pm. As usual there will be 4 sets of documents; economic report, budget document, federal revenue report and finance minister text.
During and after the budget speech, I will be posting up views via Facebook. I have also been asked by ntv 7 to air some views. Then at 8.30 pm, I will be back at INVOKE Malaysia with Rafizi Ramli and Tony Pua to shoot a livestream of our budget reactions. So stay tuned for that.
The entire weekend will then be spent reading and analysing the budget documents and my officers and interns will join Leader of the Opposition, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and her team to prepare the very important Budget Reply.
The Budget Reply slated for next Monday at 11.30 am, is a formal Parliamentary event and Dato Seri Wan Azizah’s speech is expected to take about 1.5 hours. In all Westminster based Parliament, the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and key cabinet members are required to attend, but not in Malaysia. Last year’s attendance to the Budget Reply from UMNO BN cabinet was close to zero. The non-attendance reflects badly on UMNO BN but they seem to be absolutely shameless.
This culture of ponteng in Parliament is deeply ingrained and reflects the attitude of UMNO BN leaders treating Parliament as a rubber stamp. So far in the first 4 days of Parliament, Najib Razak leads in ponteng; he has yet to come into the Parliament hall. In contrast, his deputy Zahid Hamidi has made 3 appearances to answer questions as home minister.