Fake News: Lack of Quorum

27 November 2019

Good morning. Newspapers are wrongly reporting that there was yet another quorum problem in Parliament last night. Bernama, in particular erroneously reported the matter.

What really happened last night in Parliament, was an attempt by BN to ambush PH with a vote count, but failed. BN had 28 MPs and PH had 45, so we had a total of 73 MPs in Parliament last night for the count. The quorum for Parliament is 26. Last night was a block vote “belah bagi” issue, not a quorum problem.

Many of us were recalled back to Parliament, including myself, at 9 pm for the vote count. As such there was a flurry of activities as MPs from both sides were recalled to Parliament. In the end, PH passed the women ministry budget with a comfortable majority of 17.

When PH was in the Opposition, we mounted similar ambushes against the BN government. So yesterday, was in fact a “normal” tactical Parliamentary manoeuvre used by Opposition to catch the government of the day, off guard.

After 2 incidents on the lack of quorum, PH has implemented a duty roster system for MPs to ensure full quorum. I am not sure how other PH parties divide their duties, PKR has divided our MPs into 3 groupings and gave them time slots where they have to be present in the hall.

I am on hall duty for one morning, one afternoon and two night sessions (we have a four day week in Parliament). MPs are expected to serve full 8 to 12 hour days ( mostly 10 am to 10 pm) and some of us do. However most of us do have other important meetings, so the PKR roster system allows for some flexibility where PKR MPs can trade with their PKR colleagues, slot duties when they are unavailable in Parliament. Note that the roster is meant to ensure qourom is met. In a block vote like last night, MPs will still need to be recalled, even if they are not on the duty roster.