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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