Published: Tuesday November 4, 2008 MYT 7:47:00 PM
Parliament: Opposition MPs stage walkout
By LISA GOH
KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition MPs walked out en bloc after Tian Chua (PKR- Batu) was barred from the Dewan Rakyat during the Finance Minister’s winding-up speech on Tuesday.
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 denied the fact.
Najib, also the Deputy Prime Minister, was presenting the Government’s economic stimulus package for 2009.
“We were patient and waited for an hour, and we requested the opportunity to ask for an explanation, but the Finance Minister refused us this,” Anwar said.
“He presented a new package and this is a problem, but he kept saying that it was not,” he told the press immediately after the walkout.
Anwar said they were prompted to leave after Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia asked Najib whether he would allow 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 on what he had announced,” he said.
DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang (DAP- Ipoh Timur), who was also at the press conference, said that Najib had claimed that the Budget remained unchanged, “which was untrue.”
“The Budget is being changed and there is no presentation of the revised Budget which is to be mooted afterwards.
“Pakatan Rakyat leaders have been calling for 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.