KUALA LUMPUR: “If flip-flopping benefits the people, I will flip-flop,” says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, as he schooled a Perikatan Nasional MP who accused the government of several U-turns.
Calling the government out for its U-turns on several issues, Datuk Dr Zulkafperi Hanapi (PN-Tanjong Karang) said, in a supplementary question in Parliament on Tuesday (June 13), that the government had gone back on decisions made in relation to the discontinuation of Public Services Department (JPA) scholarships for three healthcare courses and subsidies for eggs and chicken.
He also asked if Anwar would retract his statement that the Covid-19 vaccine procurement was done without the approval of the Attorney General as that had been disproved by the White Paper tabled last week.
He also said the premier must be mindful of making statements related to public interest, without creating confusion.
Responding to this, Anwar said the decision to end JPA scholarships for medicine, dentisty and pharmacy students and the subsidies for chicken and egg by end of June were “old decisions”.
However, Anwar said his government had decided to continue the scholarships and subsidies for chicken and egg.
“The old decision was to stop. Our decision is to continue. Where is the flip flop?” he asked during Prime Minister’s Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday(June 13).
“If the decision burdens the people, then Tanjong Karang should raise this matter. Who is Tanjong Karang championing if these decisions are actually helping the people?” he added.
“There were old records to review and stop the JPA scholarships.When I chaired the JPA meeting, I decided to continue the scholarships.
“The same goes with chicken and eggs. The old decision was to end it in June. When it was referred to me, I asked for it to be continued.
“It was not a flip-flop,” he said.
He added the government decided to continue the scholarships and subsidies as it helps the people.
“If flip-flopping helps the people, I will flip-flop. What is the point of not flip-flopping if it actually burdens the people,” he said.
He added that the Perikatan Nasional government wanted to increase electricity charges for all.
The statement sparked a commotion in the House with Opposition MPs heard shouting in the background.
“The decision on electricity charges are on record,” Anwar said.
“Kota Raja (Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu) said we have to stop subsidies (for chicken and eggs) in June according to the old decision. Tambun said continue. So what is the problem?” he said.
Anwar also stood by his claims on the vaccine procurement, adding that there is some truth to his statement whereby certain portions were not referred to the Attorney General.
Anwar announced on Sunday (June 11) that the scholarships will continue.
Meanwhile, the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry and the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry said, in a joint statement on June 9, that the government has decided to continue with the ceiling price of chicken and eggs.
The retail ceiling price for standard processed chicken will remain at RM9.40 per kg while grade A eggs are 45sen each, grade B (43sen) and grade C (41sen).
– The Star