18 June, 2008

PM faces no-confidence vote !

Sabah Progressive Party (Sapp) today announced that it would move a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi when Parliament resumes on Monday.

"We have lost confidence in the prime minister of Malaysia," party leader Yong Teck Lee told a news conference in Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah state on Borneo island.

The lawmakers must first convince Parliament's speaker to allow a no-confidence vote, but their biggest challenge will be getting enough legislators to support the motion.

The move would be a first in Malaysia's political history: No Malaysian prime minister has ever faced a vote of no-confidence presented by a member of his own coalition before.

The question now is whether the Dewan Rakyat Speaker would allow the motion to be tabled and if allowed, whether there would be enough MPs to support the motion

The vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi cannot be tabled on Monday as this has to be done in accordance with the Standing Orders of the Dewan Rakyat, said Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department who is in charge of Parliament said that under Standing Orders rule 27, a notice for any motion had to be given in writing 14 days in advance.

"So far, no such motion has been given as yet," he said when contacted.

Alternatively, Nazri said the vote of no confidence could be tabled through an emergency motion under Standing Orders rule 18(1).

He said this however had to fulfil three criteria -- it has to be a definite matter, urgent and of public interest.

According to a statement released in the SAPP's website, the party explained why there were launching the vote of no confidence against Abdullah.

"We must make the stand before the window of opportunity closes by August after which “Sabah would be forgotten again. The nation’s attention would switch to MCA and Umno elections, people will be pre-occupied with the fasting month, Hari Raya, school exams and year end events. Political fatigue in the national mainstream over Sabah issues would set in,” the party said. “The momentum to recover Sabah’s autonomy, get 20% oil royalties and return of Labuan would be lost.”
SAPP also claimed that "unfair" federal laws, excessive taxes and structural imbalances in the economy will remain entrenched, entrenching Sabah as the poorest state subservient to the central leadership.

“Labuan bridge, poverty eradication and rural development will remain elusive,” the party said. “Racial politics and wasteful monopolies will continue as usual. The illegal immigrant problems will reach boiling point. Grown up street kids, illicit drugs and crimes will continue to strike fear among the people.

“Police and law enforcement will remain understaffed and under-resourced. In other words, Sabah will lose out badly again. We will not get this window of opportunity for another 50 years, if ever again. In fact, we have now become suspicious of their delaying tactics.”

"This is why we need an immediate declaration of no confidence against the PM to tell the BN Government that we can no longer tolerate their insensitive attitude towards Sabah issues that are real and serious," the pasrty said.

No matter what spin is applied Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today suffered a blow to his stature as the leader of Malaysia.

It does not matter whether Parliament Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia will allow the two Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) MPs to table a motion of no confidence against the prime minister on Monday.

It does not matter that the procedure to table a motion has not been followed (14 days notice must be given). It does not even matter whether the motion is defeated soundly on the House floor as it is likely to be.

By announcing their plan to table a motion of no confidence, Datuk Yong Teck Lee and the SAPP have already achieved what they set out to do - embarrass and humiliate Abdullah.

The message that Yong wants to send to the rest of Malaysia is that the PM is weak and he should be replaced as the head of Barisan Nasional.



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