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‘Pakatan did not fight enough’

 | November 30, 2011

However Pakatan MPs say that they had no choice but to stage a walkout and that their presence in the Dewan would not have made any difference.

UPDATED

KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Rakyat MPs ‘did not put up up a good fight’ and their walkout during the Peaceful Assembly Act 2011 Parliamentary debate was nothing short of disappointing, some citizens claimed.

During an open discussion over a candlelight vigil outside parliament last night, Melissa Loovi said that it was wrong of Pakatan MPs to bail out on voting over the bill.

“Our MPs, and all of them (Pakatan) just walked out when they were supposed to vote on this. They’re supposed to fight (in the Dewan), not give press conferences.

“The bill could have been passed anyway, but did our MPs actually fight for it?

“How did they try and reject this bill?” she told other vigillers during the discussion.

Another participant, Nalini Nair did not think that the MPs tried hard enough.

“I don’t think they put up a good fight. There should have been something more they could have done,” she said angrily.

Pakatan MPs walked out of the Dewan Rakyat yesterday during the debate on the Peaceful Assembly Act.

They claimed that the government was trying to rush the bill without considering the public’s or the opposition’s criticisms.

At mercy of police

This led to Pakatan MPs abstaining from the vote, which led to Barisan Nasional MPs voting for the bill to be passed.

The bill currently puts public rally-goers at the mercy of the police.

The bill would also outlaw street protests with certain public places such as hospitals and schools being given a 50-metre no-go zone through this law.

The move prompted members of the Bar Council to march to parliament in opposition of the bill at 12:15pm yesterday.

Later at 7:30pm last night, a candlelight vigil was held in front of parliament. Attended by less than 20 people, it also had the open discussion of the day’s events.

Calling the event as Occupy Parliament, the vigil was organised by an independent group known as the KL People’s Assembly.

Pakatan MPs: We had no choice

However when contacted for comments, Pakatan MPs had a different view on their walkout yesterday.

PAS’ Bukit Gantang MP Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said that if the opposition MPs had not staged their walkout, they would have been “humiliated”.

This, he said, was because the government was pushing for the bill to be passed despite both Pakatan and the Bar Council’s stand against it.

“If we had waited and then we were ousted, we would have been much humiliated. The speaker (Pandikar Amin Mulia) did not exhibit any posture of trying to evaluate (the situation), and the only thing to do at the time was to leave the Dewan,” he said.

PKR’s Balik Pulau MP Yusmadi Yusoff said that their arguments were not considered on merit in the Dewan. He however admitted that the views of the Occupy Parliament participants were “a fair reaction”.

“Not many people know how parliament has worked for the last 50 years, which is the tyranny of the majority. What I want to tell the public is that arguments based on merits were not considered,” he said.

He said the parliament had passed other bills in the last three years because there were simply more BN MPs than there were Pakatan ones.

Tony Pua, the DAP PJ Utara MP, said that there would have been no difference even if Pakatan MPs had stayed to vote.

He reiterated Yusmadi’s statement that parliament in the end, was all about numbers.

“People have to know that the vote is counted by voice. If there is an indication that there is more of a voice (on our side) than theirs, only then would a physical vote be made,” he said

“There were more BN than Pakatan MPs inside,” he added.


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