Jun 23, 2008

No-confidence motion against PM Abdullah fails to take place

Sabah Progressive Party's (Sapp) attempt to move a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi did not take place today as both Sapp MPs were missing in action from Parliament.

The duo - Sepanggar's Eric Enchin Majimbun and Tawau's Chua Soon Bui - left their seats unfilled all day in the House and they could not be located anywhere in Parliament.

KUALA LUMPUR: A planned no-confidence motion against Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi did not take place in Parliament on Monday.

The parliamentarians from Sabah who had planned for the vote did not turn up for the session. Instead, the sitting focused on a government motion on the recent fuel price increase.

The parliamentary session got off to a colourful start when four opposition MPs cycled to work in their suits and ties, protesting against the recent fuel price hike.

It provided an ironic start to the session, during which the government sought support from lawmakers on the subsidy restructuring that caused pump prices to jump over 40 percent overnight.

Tian Chua, opposition MP, Batu, said: "Whether we vote for no confidence or not, I think the people have lost confidence in the Cabinet. I think it's time for change."

N Gobalakrishan, another opposition MP, said: "One of the main reasons we are cycling is to let the rakyat (people) know that we know their hardship and we are with them."

Dismissing the opposition MPs' behaviour as childish, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Aziz warned government MPs against voting for the other side.

He said: "If there's a vote and they make themselves present and they vote against us, we will take action against them."

A closely watched no-confidence vote planned by two Sabah MPs did not materialise when they failed to turn up.

"I am very sure because we have 140, even if the two of them jumped, there's only 84. Don't try to bring down this government by undemocratic means, wait for the next election," said Nazri.

From the looks of it, the opposition does not seem to have the upper hand in the numbers game yet, but the government is not taking any chances – all government MPs are given specific instructions to attend every single parliamentary session and any no-confidence motion must be rejected at all costs.

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