BUDGET 2017 Pakatan Harapan lawmakers staged a walkout after displaying placards stating ‘Siapa MO1?’ (Who is MO1?) as Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak tabled Budget 2017 in Parliament.
The walkout that included former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is now Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president, took place after Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia repeatedly appealed to the MPs to sit and allow the prime minister to continue with his speech.
Frustrated, Pandikar then said those who were not willing to listen to the budget were free to leave the House.
However, PAS MPs, apart from Mahfuz Omar (Pokok Sena), remained in the House.
The commotion started when Najib noted how there were claims that Budget 2017 was without substance and the government was cash-strapped.
“There is an opposition leader who claims that Malaysia is facing a tough economic storm this year.
“I want to ask who is play-acting, who doesn't have substance, who brought problems to the country?" he asked.
This spurred the opposition to shout, make noise and hold the “Siapa MO1” (Who is MO1) placards, while Pandikar tried to pacify them by asking them to sit down.
“Use the opportunity later to debate. Do not react like this,” the speaker advised.
However, the opposition lawmakers led by opposition leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, along with DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang, and Muhyiddin and the Parti Amanah Negara MPs continued to make noises while holding the placards.
This led to Najib saying: "Listen, listen, if you want to leave you can do so."
Pandikar asked the opposition to sit down but then retorted that if they were not interested in hearing the budget, and showed such behaviour to please leave. This led the opposition to walk out.
Earlier this week, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had termed Budget 2017 as meaningless, claiming that Putrajaya had exhausted its coffers.
After the opposition lawmakers left the House, Najib said: “I believe the entire nation can evaluate their behaviour.”
The prime minister then thanked those who chose to remain in their seats and continued his speech.
In last year's Budget speech, opposition MPs held up 'Where is RM2.6b?' placards soon after Najib ended his 90-minute speech.
BN MPs criticise opposition
Following the walkout, BN ministers took to Twitter to voice their displeasure at the opposition's action.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan tweeted that the opposition would have ample time to debate, dissect and criticise the government budget as they did all these years.
“Walking out is a rude and crude behaviour. The opposition have no respect for parliamentary's deep-rooted and time-tested tradition,” he said.
His colleague Azalina Othman Said said the opposition's action showed they were not matured.
“It is better for them not to ask allocation from the Federal government in the 2017 Budget, especially Selangor and Penang,” Azalina tweeted.
Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Ahmad Maslan tweeted about the opposition from DAP, PKR Amanah and Bersatu after they left the legislature.
“This is cheap politics. PAS MPs, however, remained in the house,” Ahmad tweeted.
Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang also criticised the opposition.
“Shameful walkout,” Tan tweeted.
PAS explains its actions
The PAS lawmakers who did not follow their fellow opposition MPs issued a statement minutes later to explain the party's action.
Its information chief and Temerloh MP Nasrudin Hassan said PAS was taking a different action compared to the others in the tabling of the budget by the PM today.
“There are some (parts) which we do not agree with (the contents of the budget). But our way is to give views and debate intellectually. There are some things which are good for the rakyat and the country in this budget,” Nasrudin said in a prepared statement.
“The House rules that if we do not agree with the budget we can choose to vote against the budget when the voting session begins.” -Mkini