Thursday, April 08, 2010

Nazri: Independents chosen to ensure BN majority

Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the prime minister’s decision to bring two independent lawmakers to the US was because “the Barisan Nasional (BN) wants to maintain its majority in Parliament.”

Bayan Baru MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim and Kulim-Bandar Baharu MP Zulkifli Noordin — both former PKR lawmakers — will be part of the Malaysia-United States Caucus to be launched by the prime minister next Wednesday

“It is like this because the Opposition is practising bloc voting so we must make sure that BN at every moment... must have more lawmakers than them.

“Because of that, I have made the decision not to send BN Members of Parliament to follow the prime minister. We have decided that during a Parliamentary sitting, we won’t allow any BN Members of Parliament to leave the country,” he told reporters in Parliament today.

DAP Parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang earlier ridiculed the segmented Malaysia-United States Caucus because it did not have any representative from the Opposition which accounts for more than a third of the House.

Lim also mocked BN lawmakers, calling them second-class MPs because only independent MPs were chosen for the trip.

Nazri had a different explanation for the exclusion of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs.

“At the same time, I did not send Opposition lawmakers who are not independent because I do not want to be accused of trying to decrease their numbers. Because of that I didn’t send lawmakers from BN or Opposition. I sent independents because they do not vote for BN or Opposition. It would not be a problem if I sent 10 independents.”

Nazri said that it was the government’s policy not to allow Cabinet members to travel overseas when there is a Parliamentary sitting.

“There is no grumbling about the decision. BN MPs have accepted that when there is a Parliament sitting that ministers and the Cabinet are not allowed to leave the country. That is why only Rais is following the PM.

“This is Kit Siang’s fault because every time there is a vote, they want bloc voting.”

Najib’s move to only allow two independent MPs in the caucus is seen as a precautionary measure after his debut Budget 2010 was nearly scuttled by the Pakatan Rakyat last year as it barely got through by a 66-63 vote margin at the third reading in the Dewan Rakyat.

courtesy of Malaysian Insider

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