“I’m trying to give myself 101 reasons why to drag my ass to vote BUT before I do that, where were the Pakatan representatives when the bill was ram through?” – excerpt from a comment by Tok Rojak to the ‘reap what we sow’ post.
I checked Hansard, the official records of proceedings in parliament.
Page 2 of Hansard for 19th April reveals that the bill to amend the Election Offences Act, 1954 came up for second reading on the day.
The Hansard report for 19th April, in PDF, is linked below.
The Hansard reports for the 2 preceding days, 17th and 18th ( item 6 on page 2 of both reports ) both reflect that the same bill had been laid before the House for 1st reading.
Both reports, also in PDF, are linked below.
Now I confess that my understanding of the various stages of the reading of a bill in parliament is premised on what I learnt in constitutional law class some 30 years ago, but, if my memory serves me well, I believe the 1st reading is a mere formality that entails practically no debate whatsoever.
However, what it does mean is that the bill has formally been laid before members of the House.
In plain language, MPs would have been aware, theoretically at least, of the bill and its contents, by the 17th.
I, of course, stand to be corrected on this, but if I am right, why is it that there was no outcry taken to the media by the opposition members of parliament before the bill went into second reading which, I am given to understand, was late on Thursday night?
Could you ask your opposition MPs, please?
I’ve sms’d a few and am waiting for a response.