Thursday, October 16, 2008

Govt Backbencher Hits Out At Anwar

A government backbencher Tuesday hit out at Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PKR-Permatang Pauh) for demanding the government to table a new 2009 Budget.

Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi (BN-Batu Pahat) said the 2009 Budget needed to be debated for implementation of the plans, besides already being a people-friendly budget that outlined several strategies to ensure their well-being.

"I am surprised that the (honourable member from) Permatang Pauh said the budget should be rejected because the income and deficit projections had changed, but he himself had debated on it for almost six hours.

"What is important is that the 2009 Budget is an estimate and based on planning, could be revised and should be implemented," he said when debating on the 2009 Supply Bill in Parliament, here Tuesday.

Dr Mohd Puad also refuted Anwar's claim that Barisan Nasional MPs were merely government lackeys or blind followers for debating an obsolete budget.

"BN MPs cannot be described as such, as we have to debate on the budget and it can be revised," he said.

He was also disappointed that during the debate yesterday, Anwar had criticised the country's economic policies and politics which he had also been part of when he was in government before.

"I find it difficult to agree with Permatang Pauh as what he says now also happened when he was finance minister. What is important is that we should be finding ways to solve the problems."

The debate got heated up when he raised the issue of Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) supporters creating a commotion at the recent Hari Raya open house hosted by the prime minister and Muslim cabinet ministers.

"Hindraf is making ridiculous demands as evident from their behaviour at the Raya open house. They should have come with decorum. Imagine if I had disturbed the Padang Serai's (N. Gobalakrishnan's) Deepavali open house. Surely they would be angry. Likewise, the Malays were angry as the Raya open house had to do with their religious celebration," said Dr Mohd Puad.

This prompted Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) to stand up and state that the Hindraf supporters had gone to the open house with the good intention of delivering a Hari Raya card and message to the prime minister.

"They didn't go there to be suppressed or to hurt the feelings of others. If they had gone there with a good intention, why should they be harshly treated" he added.

To this, Dr Mohd Puad said: "We've heard from the prime minister's statement that only one (Hindraf supporter) had wished him 'Selamat Hari Raya' but the rest just barged in. They should have used a more suitable occasion to convey their request."