104 vs 110: Anwar Fails to Defeat Azmin’s Budget in Bloc Vote

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The Dewan Rakyat has passed the International Trade and Industry Ministry’s RM1.2 billion budget in a bloc vote with 110 votes in favour and 104 against. Six MPs were not present.

Bernama

International Trade and Industry Minister Azmin Ali wrapped up the debate while his nemesis Anwar Ibrahim (Harapan-Port Dickson) was among those who took part in the vote.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad (Independent-Langkawi) – who has also been taking swipes at Azmin – was one of the debaters earlier.

Azmin was previously the PKR deputy president before quitting the party during the infamous Sheraton Move in February.

Losing to Azmin is a significant blow to Anwar, who is under pressure to prove that he has majority support in the Dewan Rakyat.

This was the first time the opposition sought for bloc voting following brickbats after they allowed Budget 2021 to pass the second reading with just a voice vote.

A voice vote, unlike bloc vote, does not require votes to be counted. During the first two bloc votes, all 8 Warisan MPs were absent, purportedly due to unhappiness with Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

In Round 2 of voting, the “Aye” vote was revised from 107 to 106 a day later after Padang Rengas MP Nazri Abdul Aziz was mistaken counted as supporting Budget 2021 even though he was absent.

The opposition did not seek for votes to be counted in today’s first two rounds of voting. However, they sought a bloc vote for the final round of voting but were unsuccessful in defeating the budget.

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim debated the agriculture ministry budget, but no bloc vote was called. The budget for subsequent ministries also passed with a voice vote. By the final vote of the day, many opposition MPs had left the House.

Several Warisan MPs participated in the bloc vote for first time during the Budget 2021 committee stage when Azmin Ali, a key figure in the Sheraton Move, delivered his winding-up speech for the International Trade and Industry Minister.

It was the strongest showing by the opposition and closest results yet, but still not enough to defeat the budget. – Malaysiakini