KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 28): The tabling of the Supply (Budget) Bill 2023 or Budget 2023 may need to be retabled in the Dewan Rakyat again if the Bill has not been approved when Parliament is dissolved to make way for the 15th general election (GE15).
This means the newly-elected government formed after GE15 would need to restart the whole process of tabling the budget again, said Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun.
“If GE15 is held, then there will be a new government [before the budget is passed]. So the new government needs to do the first reading again, because the budget does not bind the next government,” he told reporters in Parliament on Wednesday (Sept 28).
He said the newly-formed government can choose to retable the same draft Bill to the house.
Budget 2023, which is scheduled to be tabled next Friday (Oct 7), is expected to see its first reading two days prior to that. The first reading is mostly seen as just a formality, where only the title of the Bill is read out in Dewan Rakyat.
By convention, the budget has always been tabled by the Finance Minister, a post currently held by Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz.
“Based on the notice received so far, the [upcoming sitting] will see Budget 2023 being moved for the first reading [on Wednesday (Oct 5)], and then on Friday, it will be brought for the second reading. After that, it will be debated at the policy level, as well as the committee level,” added Azhar.
The third meeting of the fifth term of the 14th parliamentary session will start from Oct 3 to Nov 29.
In a related development, Azhar said he has yet to receive information from the minister in charge on whether the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022, which is currently being referred to the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC), will be retabled in the Dewan Rakyat next week.
“As far as I know, the select committee has met two or three times and they are finalising the Bill.
“If the matter is finalised, maybe the minister who will bring the Bill will give a notice to the [Dewan Rakyat] secretary to list the Bill in the upcoming session. So far, I have not received any information,” he said.
Last week, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said he is confident that the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022 would be tabled for its third reading at Dewan Rakyat next month, after finalising several amendments, and that it would receive the support of the majority of the Members of Parliament (MPs).
At the time, he said the Bill was still being reviewed and studied by a PSSC, and that discussions were proceeding smoothly.
The PSSC comprises 12 MPs from the government and opposition blocs to study several amendments, with Khairy chairing it.
The Bill, among other things, will prohibit the sale and use of any form of smoking material including electronic cigarettes or vaping to individuals born on Jan 1, 2007 onwards. Some MPs, however, deem it would limit the freedom of choice.
The Bill also outlined provisions for the registration of tobacco products, smoking materials or tobacco substitute products, in addition to controlling advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and sales and purchases of tobacco products, smoking materials, tobacco substitute products or smoking devices.
Meanwhile, Azhar said he is not involved in the dissolution of Parliament, as it is under the prerogative of the prime minister (PM).
“The dissolution of Parliament is under the authority of the PM, who will advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. If advised to do so, the Agong has the discretion to accept or reject the advice.
“I read in the news that there is a bit of polemic about whether that power is the power of the PM only, or it must be a Cabinet decision. I don’t have an answer to the polemic,” he said.-The Edge Market