Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Parliament's First Vote

Whoa! The first case of voting in parliament for a long time. Parliament has been extended by 2 days to Thursday 29th and we are now in the midst of debating supplementary budget allocations.

Basically, supplementary budget allocation is debated in parliament to retrospectively approve allocations which has already been over-spent by the Government.

One of the line items is additional allocation of RM16 billion to statutory bodies. Amongst the mini-line items include additional RM9 million to sponsor Le Tour d'Langkawi, Champion's Youth Cup (CYC) Football Tournament and the liquidation of SUKOM Bhd.

After the debate on the issue, a vote by voice is usually called for, and typically, BN will just win hands down. But this time round, it was noted that there appears to be less BN members in the House compared to opposition members (the "Setuju" sounded weaker than the "Tidak Setuju") and straight away, there was a suggestion that a vote by ballot be called.

The Speaker after some contemplation agreed, and the bell was rung to bring in the House members. Suddenly you find all the BN representatives including many ministers streaming in, some belatedly. Even the Prime Minister, who is rarely seen in the House came in. The House was in a light and jovial mood though as the respective party whips went around registering votes around the House.

Well, the results was only to be expected. There was 92 votes from BN while 60 for the opposition, and it appears that the 1 independent candidate abstained.

I voted "NO" to the supplementary budget allocation because I disagreed with the manner in which the budget had been prepared and executed for supplementary budgets in this country is a mere retrospective technical approval, which in actuality makes a mockery of the previous budget approval.

In addition, there were clearly many items in the supplementary budget such as the controversial CYC as well as the neverending SUKOM accounts which are not transparent which just seems to be a sponge for more funds.

Well, for what it's worth, I registered my first physical vote in Parliament today ;-)
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