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Category: Parliamentary Issues (page 1 of 45)

End of a Parliament Session

As I have said before, today’s Parliament sitting may very well be the very last one for the 13th Term since GE14 is around the corner.

It is very strange to say goodbye to friends and foes, knowing very well that some will be dropped, some are barred, some are retiring and some will lose in GE14. I want to wish all the best of luck and thank everyone for their service to the nation. Opposition MPs who stayed till the very end of today, spontaneously got together and took this last group photo.

 

Reform the Parliamentary Voting System!

Good morning from Parliament. Am having a breakfast meeting with YB Darell Leiking, YB Sim Tong Him and my intern Kevin. We are still talking about the vote event last night. I note many angry comments about the no show of many MPs from the Opposition. In light of the very close vote last night, I can fully understand the extra anger.

We are all adults. We all took an oath to serve the rakyat and Parliament. If MPs decide not to turn up they should be accountable to their own constituents. To be fair, some may have valid excuses for their abscene.

However I am fully aware that people are fed up with the state of politics in Malaysia. Politicians from both sides are failing the expectations of the public. This unhappiness has to do with the lack of transparency of government and the rise of spin politics.

To address this growing unhappiness, it is high time for Parliament to publish a daily attendance list. It is also high time for the vote count to be fully transparent.

Currently MPs are asked by a designated counting agent how they will vote. These votes are then tabulated by block and handwritten on a sheet of paper. The papers of all the blocks are then collated into a final number. We have no access to these papers. Other than your immediate MPs seated next to you, you will not know who voted which way. In the case of yesterday’s vote, the two PAS leaders that abstained sit right in front of me. After every important vote, I get reporters asking me for a detailed list, a list which I have no access to.

Therefore we must reform the voting system. The best way is to read out the name of every MP and ask them to individually state their position. This event should also be televised. If the vote count becomes fully transparently, I am certain attendance of MPs will improve dramatically!

Pakatan Harapan Vote Ambush

At 8.20 pm Pakatan Harapan MPs, together with Warisan ambushed UMNO BN on the vote of the Domestic Trade Ministry budget. The vote strategy was formed during the PKR pre-counsel meeting last week. The idea originated and was executed by YB Manivannan (PKR MP for Kapar) and endorsed by YB Dato Johari Abdul (PKR Chief Whip of Sungai Petani). Party whips from DAP, Amanah, Bersatu and Warisan were then brought into the loop and coordinated.

We decided to send a strong message to the minister that the rakyat is suffering high cost of living and oil prices, which is under the purview of his ministry.

When the bell was rung for a vote, we clearly outnumbered UMNO BN by 7 votes. 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. One of the MP jokingly warned the Speaker not to “turn off the lights” and fix the vote. 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 final outcome was 52 for UMNO BN and 51 for Pakatan Harapan.

Ultimately UMNO BN was saved by two senior PAS leaders who abstained from voting. The two senior PAS leaders are Ustaz Idris Ahmad of Bukit Gantang (vice president of PAS) and Hajjah Siti Zailah of Rantau Panjang (head of Kelantan PAS women wing). Once more PAS senior leaders showed their true colours that they are 100% pro UMNO BN. In a surprise move, six of the PAS junior backbenchers voted with us against UMNO BN. One of them explained to me that the high cost of living is a rakyat issue and as such he will vote with his conscience. The message is loud and clear, prepare for 3 corner fights so long as pro UMNO leaders are in charge of PAS.

After the vote was read, we demanded an explanation from the Speaker. Our legitimate protests were dismissed. The hall broke into a chant “TIPU! TIPU! TIPU!”. We walked out en mass and gave a press conference.

If they can blatantly influence the vote in the Dewan, what more in the counting halls of GE14. I therefore appeal to all my readers to become Polling and Counting Agents and protect our ballot boxes.

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Politics Aside, Civility is a Priority

After a 3 hour long battle with Dato Johari Ghani, Finance Minister 2 yesterday on the policy stage budget yesterday, we bumped into each other in the Parliament lounge at around 3 pm today.

We shook hands, had a quick friendly chat and posed for a photo.

Before he became a minister and when he was a backbencher, we got to know each other well. He was one of the informal “breakfast club” members; he came an hour early to Parliament, prepared his files and notes ahead for a day of debate. Back then while waiting for Parliament to start, we swapped many corporate stories and occasionally consulted each other on economic and banking issues.

We may have our differences, but I respect his “rajin kerja” work ethics. We will resume our fight tomorrow when the Ministry of Finance budget goes into committee stage.

Defamation against Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim

Together with a few Pakatan Harapan MPs, we went to JAWI to file a “qazaf” report against the Tambun MP, Husni Hanadzlah for defaming Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim in Parliament. Husni in his budget speech last Wednesday, claimed that Anwar had sodomised his relative.

This is the same Husni that resigned as Finance Minister 2 last year and all his UMNO posts. The talk in Parliament then was his resignation was due to his refusal to defend the 1MDB issue. There was also rumours that he might join Dr Mahathir’s Bersatu.

So the speech that he gave last Wednesday was a real surprise to all. It was a 180 degree turn; Husni is now firmly back as a Najib hardcore loyalist. Rumour in Parliament is that he will seek to defend his Tambun seat and is also eyeing an ADUN seat too. Perhaps he is angling to become the next MB of Perak?

He also made an incredible proclamation in his budget speech that Najib will leave behind a “no corruption” legacy for Malaysia.

After JAWI, we gave a press conference in Parliament on the same issue.