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Sidang parlimen:13/10/2008

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 - Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today urged new Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to revise the budget for 2009.

"Is it right to debate an obsolete budget?" he asked Dewan Rakyat, referring to changes in the economic situation in the one-and-a-half months since the budget was first tabled by then finance minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi. "Only those enslaved and insane will support this Budget," he added.

Anwar's speech in the Dewan Rakyat today signalled an opposition effort to turn their attention towards Najib following Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi's recent announcement of his decision not to contest the Umno presidency which he will likely hand over to Najib next March.

Najib was not in Parliament this morning to listen to Anwar's speech, which appeared to be an attempt to highlight the Barisan Nasional government's possible mismanagement of the economy in light of the global financial crisis.

The newly-elected Permatang Pauh MP urged Najib to gather experts from Bank Negara and from the government's Economic Planning Unit (EPU) to relook the Budget.

"If he does not submit a new budget, then I call on Barisan Nasional MPs to take the initiative to at least call for an amended bill that reflects current figures," he said.

Anwar backed this by saying that the projected 44% of national revenue was based on global oil prices of US$125 a barrel but current prices sit at US$80.

"The government will be forced to issue bonds to cover a shortfall of RM6 billion," he claimed.

He also claimed that in the first half of the year, capital flight amounted to RM125 billion and Najib had, last month, announced just RM31 billion of foreign direct investments.

DAP Parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang also interjected to ask for proceedings to be adjourned until Najib was present to hear the debate on the budget.

"If the finance minister is not here, the government loses credibility and we will become a laughing stock, he said.


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