Monday, May 8, 2006

BN MPs Cannot Vote According To Their Conscience, Says Abdullah - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi stressed Monday that Barisan Nasional (BN) members of Parliament must toe the party line and are not free to vote according to their conscience in any motion moved in Parliament.

The prime minister said that every party member, including BN MPs, has to observe the discipline and must understand this.

"All party members have rules that they must understand and follow. There's discipline for each member... no relaxation or freedom is given for them to do as they like. That's the party rule," he told reporters here.

He was asked to comment on a statement by the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) Monday asking that BN MPs be given the freedom to vote according to their conscience on motions moved in Parliament.

The BNBBC, however, acknowledged the practice in the House of Commons in Britain where the party whip could compel the MPs to vote according to the party's decision in important issues like finance bills, vote of no confidence and second reading of important bills.

Earlier, Abdullah, who is also Umno president, chaired a four-hour Umno supreme council meeting at Menara Datuk Onn here.

Asked why the BN did not adopt the approach of some developed countries which give their party members freedom to decide on any motion tabled, he said the democracy practised by the BN had proven successful until now.

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