Govt should ensure support, not us, says opposition leader

10 Apr 2019 / 18:14 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional (BN) has shifted the blame to the government for the failed amendment to the Federal Constitution on Tuesday.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today said it was the Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) duty to ensure that they have the required two thirds support of the Dewan Rakyat before even considering tabling the amendment.

“Even if all of us in BN did not come yesterday, PH would still need a two thirds majority to pass the amendment. It is their responsibility to make sure of that,“ he told reporters when met at the Parliament lobby, here, today.

“It doesn’t matter if we abstained from voting, rejected it, or if we are absent, it doesn’t change anything. By right, the government should ensure they have the numbers. It should not be on us. It is their fault, and not ours.”

He was asked to comment on why several of the BN MPs were absent during voting, and why the coalition had decided to abstain when the Bill was put to vote.

Ismail said the Bill, which sought to restore equal status of Sabah and Sarawak with the peninsular, would also not have been rejected had the government referred the proposed amendment to a parliamentary select committee (PSC) first.

On Tuesday night, when the Bill was put up for a bloc voting, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusoff announced that the government fell short of 10 votes to pass the amendment.

He said 138 lawmakers voted for the amendment, 59 abstained from voting, while no MPs voted against. The proposed amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution would have required a minimum two-thirds support by the Lower House, or at least 148 votes.

Prior to the bloc voting, opposition members have on several occasions requested that the government postpone the amendment until further discussions were made with all stakeholders.

They have asked that the matter be referred to the PSC first to ensure that any discrepancies within the amendment and the constitution would be ironed out.

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