Parliament bickering starts early today

Parliament bickering starts early today

KUALA LUMPUR,. The Dewan Rakyat devolved into squabbling from the very start of Question Time this morning as Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng replied to queries on the state of the country’s national debt.

The Bagan MP upset Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmakers as he answered a supplementary question by Kubang Kerian (PAS) MP Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man who cited the 2018 Auditor-General’s Report.

“The Auditor-General had reported that the government is prioritising the debt of five Finance Ministry companies totalling RM2.839 billion.

“However, the Auditor-General is unsure whether or not these five companies can repay their debt,” Tuan Ibrahim stated before asking what the government would do about this.

Lim immediately went on the attack and asked the PAS deputy president if he has read the entire report.

Lim said the five companies mentioned were established under the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.

The minister claimed the current Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration inherited the debt and is forced to pay.

“You (Tuan Ibrahim) must understand financial management process. This is something that happened before us. This is the old administration’s debt and is borne by the current administration. We can pay it off.

“The money was used by the previous administration but we are the ones who have to pay for it!” Lim said, which triggered protests from Umno lawmakers.

Arau MP (BN) Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim stood and called Lim a liar but retracted this on Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof’s orders.

Pontian MP (BN) Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan demanded that Lim answer his question on national assets while others heckled the finance minister without care for the standing orders during Question Time.

Baling MP (BN) Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim reminded the Lower House that Lim has held the floor for over 20 minutes, a rarity as each minister typically spoke for 10 minutes or under.

In the end, Lim’s portion lasted more than 30 minutes.

Mohamad Ariff was forced to quieten the lawmakers and reminded them that Question Time is not a debate.

He then told Lim to finish winding up his answers.

In his reply to the original question by Ranau MP Jonathan Yasin (PH) Lim stated that Malaysia’s international reserves as of October 2019 increased to RM423.7 billion from RM419.6 billion last year.

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