The Education Ministry came under fire from DAP MPs today for disbursing aid whose allocation had been included in the 2012 Budget to students but has yet to be passed by Parliament.
"The Bill is still being debated before the Dewan. How can the money be spent before the allocation is passed? ...It is not his money " M Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) said, in reference to Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
Kulasegaran (left) had raised the matter under Standing Order 66A, which touches on the proper route before a Supply Bill becomes the budget for government expenditure.
Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah) also stood up in support of her fellow-party MP.
"The assistance was announced as part of the 2012 budget. It is still being debated in the Dewan. How can the DPM pay it immediately?” asked Fong of Muhyiddin, who is also the deputy prime minister.
“This is disrespecting the Parliament process. The Bill must be passed before it is spent," she interjected.
Deputy speaker Ronald Kiandee, however, dismissed the matter as being outside the purview of the House and its standing orders, pointing to rule 66(4) which provides for matters of policy to be disallowed from debate when the Dewan sits in committee and must discuss specific matters.
"It is not related to the Dewan. That is ministry business. They should know what they are doing.
"I can only oversee standing orders for in-house business. That is an outside issue. There is no breach of standing orders that I can see," the deputy speaker contended, while stressing procedures must be followed.
Kulasegaran, however, continued to press his point.
"Does this mean that they do not require the approval of the house? This is a serious matter," he argued.
Both he and Fong (right) continued to voice their concerns, triggering an immediate response from BN backbenchers who began heckling the DAP representatives.
The fray then became a free-for-all as barbed remarks were slung from both sides as Kiandee was hard-pressed to bring some semblance of order to the proceedings.
He managed to do this only afer some time after DAP parliamentarians and their BN hecklers stood down to allow for normal debate to continue.
Met by reporters outside the Dewan afterward, Kiandee (left, speaking to Kulasegaran) clarified that it is the duty of the minister to answer the matter raised by the DAP parliamentarians.
The RM100 assistance to school students is listed as part of the expenditures still being debated on the proposed 2012 Budget Bill in the Dewan Rakyat.
However, the assistance is already in the process of being rolled out, with Education Minister Muhyiddin having announced that it was to be implemented immediately.
Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong told a press conference at Parliament House today that the funds will be disbursed as soon as this Friday.