'I followed my conscience,' says sole PKR MP who stood up to call for bloc vote on Budget 2021

KUALA LUMPUR: Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Karim caught PKR by surprise when he was the only one from his party who stood up along with Parti Amanah Negara and Parti Pejuang Tanah Air MPs to call for a bloc vote to pass Budget 2021.

Hassan said he went against party lines because he had to follow his conscience as an elected representative.

“I followed my conscience, not the party whip," he said.

Asked if there was an order by the PKR top leadership to support Budget 2021, Hassan declined to comment, merely saying “I cannot reveal internal matters”.

He also appeared unfazed over prospects of being referred to the PKR disciplinary committee for not toeing the party line.

“I already informed the party leadership that I’m standing up, I’m also ready for punishment,” he added.

It also could not be confirmed if PKR has ordered its 38 MPs to support Budget 2021.

DAP has also been silent on its stance towards Budget 2021. It is understood that a statement from DAP on the matter will be released soon.

“I’m sorry, comrades. We will explain. Please let us explain,” said Sandakan MP Vivian Wong.

It is understood top Pakatan leaders are currently in a meeting in Parliament over the matter, according to a source.

Earlier in Parliament on Thursday (Nov 26), Amanah's Pokok Sena MP Datuk Mahfuz Omar called for a bloc vote on Budget 2021 after it was passed by a simple voice vote in Parliament.

Under Parliament Standing Order 46(3), a Bill will be put to the House for a voice vote of "ayes" and "noes" at the debates with the results announced by the Speaker.

The results can be challenged by an MP under Parliament's Standing Order 46(4) by calling for a bloc-vote which involves actual vote count of lawmakers present in the House.

However, for a bloc-vote to be triggered, not less than 15 lawmakers must be seen standing in support, failing which the Speaker would announce results of the earlier voice vote.

According to Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun, there were 13 MPs who stood up in support of Mahfuz but the identities of the 13 could not be confirmed.

Other MPs from Pejuang and Amanah, namely Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, Datuk Shahruddin Md Salleh, and several other MPs also stood up in support of Mahfuz.

Mahfuz’s call for a bloc vote turned futile after Azhar said there was only 13 MPs who stood up in support, short of the required 15 MPs under Standing Order 46(4).

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