KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 — Parliament Deputy Speaker Nga Kor Ming had to ring a bell at 4pm today in Dewan Rakyat to get MPs to attend the session, after less than 26 out of 222 MPs were left in the Lower House.
Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob then slammed Pakatan Harapan (PH) MPs for not taking the Budget speech seriously, claiming today was a black day for Parliament.
“The trend started from Monday as only the deputy prime minister was present to hear the Budget debate on Tuesday. On Wednesday, only the deputy education minister was present, no one else was in the Dewan including the finance minister and his deputy,” he told the press afterwards.
“Today, it came to worse level when only 26 out of 222 MPs were inside Dewan and the speaker had to ring a bell to call them in. It seems like the PH ministers and their MPs are not interested with Dewan Rakyat.
“If they don’t want to hear the debate, I suggest we just dissolve the Parliament and choose new MPs that would want to pay attention and participate in the Dewan’s debate,” Ismail added.
However, Ismail could not answer how many BN and PAS MPs had attended the debate today.
Johor Baru MP Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir was giving a speech when Nga noticed only a handful of MPs were left inside.
He then rang the bell, resulting in MPs who were sitting in the Parliament cafeteria, lobby and the smoking area to rush inside.
The quorum for Dewan Rakyat sitting is 26, and MPs are entitled to an RM400 daily allowance to attend the sitting.
In July, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad himself said he was dissatisfied with the attendance of PH ministers and MPs in the Dewan Rakyat.
Currently, PH controls 128 seats with their ally Parti Warisan Sabah (nine) and Upko (one).
Meanwhile BN has 40 seats with PAS 18, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (18), Gagasan Bersatu Sabah (three), United Sarawak Party (one) and three independent MPs.
Another seat, Tanjong Piai is currently vacant and the by-election is scheduled for November 16.