By ABDUL AZIZ ISA
COMMENT: The ministerial budget voting result on Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry is a total bizarre to me. Based on my simple mathematical calculation, Pakatan Harapan has 71 Members of Parliament (MPs). If we include all the two MP’s from Parti Warisan Sabah and two Independent MP’s from Parti Sosialis Malaysia and 14 MP’s from Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), there will be 90 opposition MP’s in Parliament.
The voting result showed 51 MP’s from BN supported the ministerial budget, 51 MPs from PH (including 6 MPs from PAS) voted against it while the remaining two MPs from PAS abstained from voting. If we exclude the 6 PAS MPs that joined several other PH MPs, this means that only 45 PH MPs participated in the voting process. The public are wondering, what happened to the other 26 PH MPs.
It was reported that at 8.20 pm on that night, the MPs from Pakatan Harapan ambushed Barisan Nasional on the voting of the ministry’s budget. The voting strategy was formed during the PKR pre-council meeting last week. The idea was put forward and executed by Manivannan (PKR MP for Kapar) and endorsed by Johari Abdul (PKR Chief Whip cum MP for Sungai Petani). Should the voting strategy was informed early last week, the remaining 26 MPs would be aware of it. The question now, where’s the teamwork?
Despite being defeated by one vote, they proudly claimed that PH managed to send a message to the minister that the rakyat is suffering due to high cost of living and oil prices. What kind of message have they sent if only 51 MPs voted against it?
Even if PH managed to outnumber BN with 7 votes for instance, they should have prepared for Plan B, which is calling the remaining PH MPs to come to vote. I believe that every political party in PH has their own Chief Whip to look after the discipline of their own party members and to ensure that members do attend and vote as the party requires.
After all, under Public Law and Political science matter, this is the main role of a Chief Whip. In any democratic country, elected members of parliament are paid using the taxpayers’ money to legislate law. Whatever excuses they give, the damage had been done. Their miscalculated act has resulted in the ministry’s budget to be passed by a simple majority of one vote.
It can’t be denied that BN was saved by two senior PAS leaders who abstained from voting. The two senior PAS leaders were Ustaz Idris Ahmad of Bukit Gantang (vice president of PAS) and Hajjah Siti Zailah of Rantau Panjang. Again, PAS senior leaders had shown their true colours that they are still pro-BN.
I couldn’t agree more in this matter. However, it has been a well-known fact that PAS will likely abstain from voting. Nevertheless, blaming PAS alone is not prudent enough when we failed to take care of our own backyard. If all the 71 PH MP’s voted against the budget, we would have morally won the process at the ministry level. Walk the talk instead.
PH MPs should have learned their lesson from this incident and not to take things for granted. As the saying goes, “Once bitten, twice shy.” If “they” are no longer interested in serving the public, they should step down with honour and dignity in order to pave way for the young blood to take over the role.
• Abdul Aziz Isa reads BorneoToday