Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that it was “meaningless” for them to remain in the august hall when Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had presented a new Budget but had the cheek to deny that fact.
“We were patient and waited for a solid hour, and we asked for the opportunity to ask for an explanation but the Finance Minister refused us this,” he told reporters after the walk-out.
Protest move: Anwar and other Opposition MPs leaving the Dewan Rakyat during the Finance Minister’s winding-up speech Tuesday.
“He presented a new package and this is a problem but he kept saying that it is not new. There is no meaning for us to keep listening to what he is reading.”
Anwar added that the last straw was when Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia asked Najib whether he would allow the Opposition MPs to ask questions.
“And he (Najib) said ‘No’.
“This is Parliament, not some Umno division meeting. In Parliament, ministers give answers. We were merely seeking clarification to what he has said,” said Anwar.
DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang (DAP – Ipoh Timur), who was also at the press conference, said Najib claimed that the Budget had remained unchanged, “which is untrue.”
“The Budget is being changed and there is no presentation of the revised Budget which is to be mooted afterwards. This is actually misleading the House and most dishonest.
“Pakatan Rakyat leaders have been calling on him to present a revised Budget and then we can debate and at the end of the day we can have a vote, but he refused,” he said.
Lim said the event was a most unfortunate start to Najib’s first official appearance in Parliament as the Prime Minister-in-waiting.
“It goes against all parliamentary principles of democracy,” he said.
Said PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa (PAS – Bachok): “We came to debate, not to listen to him (Najib) lecture.”
Najib disappoints in Parliament