KAPAR MP G. Manivannan (pic) has resigned as PKR’s secretary whip after the Dewan Speaker ruled that his error during the tabulation of the bloc vote on Budget 2018 last week meant that the results of the voting would stand.
In a statement yesterday, Manivannan said the resignation was with immediate effect as a matter of principle, and that it has already been conveyed to the party’s chief whip, Sungai Petani MP Datuk Johari Abdul.
Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said earlier that the bloc vote to pass allocations for the Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry was in accordance with the Standing Orders.
He said it was the Opposition which made an error by not including the vote cast by Stampin MP Julian Tan. Manivannan, who had called for the bloc vote, had to sign off on each vote cast by the opposition but had not signed on Tan’s vote.
“After checking, it was found that 51 MPs had voted against the allocation, and this was reflected in the final result,” he said.
Pandikar Amin informed the Dewan that under the Standing Orders, the Speaker had discretion on whether to allow a bloc vote to avoid frivolous requests by MPs.
He said this meant that any bloc vote called for must not be frivolous or carry ill-intention.
“In this scenario, the bloc vote was called at a time of prayer, and some of the MPs had stepped out after finishing their debates.
“When you see the Dewan is rather empty, then all of you enter quickly and ask for a bloc vote.”
Chaos erupted last Monday in the Dewan when Barisan won the bloc vote by a razor-thin margin, with 52 votes in favour as opposed to 51 nays from Opposition lawmakers, with two PAS lawmakers abstaining.
Manivannan has since apologised to the House and Tan, stating that both the Speaker and the House had accepted it.
“The omission of YB Stampin was not purposely done. It was absolutely a human error,” said Manivannan.
He also met Tan to personally convey his apology, which was also accepted.
“The officers are supposed to assist. Although they calculated together with me, they didn’t highlight any omission and did not double check,” said Manivannan.
“The Speaker agreed the counting system is flawed. I have suggested a better calculation system in future.”
If Tan’s vote had been counted, Pakatan Harapan could have brought the bloc vote on the Supply Bill portion for the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry to a tie.
A number of Opposition MPs had wanted the Speaker to order the doors locked after the bell was rung for two minutes.
To that, Pandikar Amin said the British system had a specific time frame and provisions to do so, and that the bell was just to alert MPs to enter the House.
“We will take this incident as an example. It is a new experience for us all,” he said.
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