Amid absenteeism criticism, DAP stresses only two MPs missed Pota debate

DAP parliamentary chief whip said that one of the two DAP MPs who could not attend on that day was Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng. He was in Australia together with Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong for a pre-planned visit. — Picture by KE Ooi
DAP parliamentary chief whip said that one of the two DAP MPs who could not attend on that day was Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng. He was in Australia together with Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong for a pre-planned visit. — Picture by KE Ooi

KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — With brickbats raining on Pakatan Rakyat (PR) over its 24 lawmakers absent from Parliament on Monday, DAP insisted today that only two of its MPs missed a crucial debate on a law that revived indefinite detention without trial.

Following widespread public disappointment over the passing of Prevention of Terrorism Bill 2015 (Pota), DAP parliamentary chief whip Loke Siew Fook defended the party’s performance and affirmed its members’ commitment to carrying out their duties as federal lawmakers.

“The two DAP MPs who could not attend on that day are Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng and Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong. They were in Australia on that day for a visit that had already been planned before this,” the Seremban MP said in a statement.

On Monday, Parliament debated for hours well beyond midnight before the proposed Pota was finally passed at 2.25am with a vote count of 79 against 64.

Today, Loke said 35 out of DAP’s 37 federal lawmakers were present during the Pota Bill’s second reading during which Sungai Siput MP proposed that the proposed law be referred to a parliamentary select committee.

Loke also said three DAP MPs — namely Ramkarpal Singh (Bukit Gelugor), Zairil Khir Johari (Bukit Bendera), Gobind Singh Deo (Puchong) — had vigorously debated on the Bill during policy stage, adding that another DAP MP Lim Lim Eng (Segambut) had proposed several amendments during committee stage.

He also clarified that DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang was present during the block voting process in Parliament, refuting news reports that said the Gelang Patah MP was absent on Monday.

“But he had to leave the Dewan after that as he was feeling unwell,” Loke said.

Loke concluded by saying: “As DAP parliamentary chief whip, I wish to stress and give the commitment to Malaysians that all DAP MPs are committed and serious in our duty and responsibility to defend the public’s rights and interest in all legislative processes in the Dewan Rakyat.”

The Pota was passed without amendment after over 12 hours of debate.

The Bill was passed after the ninth block voting, with the final voting favouring the government when 79 MPs from Barisan Nasional (BN) supported the Bill while 64 MP from PR rejected it.

PR parties have 88 seats, minus the Permatang Pauh seat, which is currently vacant. Eleven MPs each from PKR and PAS were absent, while the DAP were short of two.

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