KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — The government narrowly won, by just one vote, the debate on a part of Budget 2018 in the Dewan Rakyat today as few Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs were in the House.
Media reports said G. Manivanan (PKR-Kapar) called for a division vote when the government was wrapping up the debate on the Supply Bill’s portion for the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry at the committee stage.
News portal Malaysiakini reported that government lawmakers rushed back in after Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee ordered for the House bell to be rung for two minutes.
The Bill was approved with 52 MPs in favour and 51 against; two abstained from voting.
Wong Chen (PKR-Kelana Jaya) posted on Facebook that the two MPs who had abstained from voting were PAS lawmakers Idris Ahmad (Bukit Gantang) and Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff (Rantau Panjang).
According to Wong, six PAS junior backbenchers had joined the vote against the Bill and one of them had told him that he wanted to vote with his conscience as the high cost of living was a “rakyat issue”.
“When the bell was rung for a vote, we clearly outnumbered Umno BN by 7 votes,” Wong said.
“The counting process started and the counting forms were eventually signed. After that point, other Umno BN MPs and ministers rushed in and the signed documents were retracted. The process delayed further until they had enough numbers. This is a blatant abuse of the counting process.
“To add fuel to our anger, and despite our strong protests, the Domestic Trade minister can be seen in the counting area to ‘supervise’ the vote count. The counting process took an inordinate long 15 minutes to count,” the PKR lawmaker added.
News portal The Malaysian Insight reported Kiandee as saying that no standing orders were breached as there was no mention of a time frame or that votes from late arrivals should not be counted.
“You cannot say that you don’t have a time limit and you can just keep waiting until you get the necessary numbers that you need in order to see the Bill through,” Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) told reporters.
“A vote has to be taken from members who are present in the house at the time the vote was called for.”