KUALA LUMPUR, 25 March 2009: The Human Rights Commission (Amendment) Bill 2009 was finally passed by the Dewan Rakyat after having faced numerous challenges, including undergoing voting twice, at the policy and committee stages, today.
The first bloc voting was taken when opposition members voiced objections during the debate at the policy stage on the ground that they were no given sufficient space to debate it comprehensively.
They then started showing their anger when Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, who was winding up debate on the bill, did not give room for any interruptions and went on to read the text of his speech without paying attention to their calls to seek clarification.
To ease the situation, Deputy Speaker Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar then proposed a bloc vote be taken before continuing but it favoured the government with 45 MPs for and 39 against.
Not satisfied, the opposition again tried to prevent the bill from going through at the committee stage and when a further bloc vote was taken, it was 50 against 39 this time in favour of the government and subsequently the bills was passed.
Mohamed Nazri, in his windup, said the bill was in line with the Federal Constitution and that there were no discriminatory provisions in it and that people of impeccable integrity would be appointed as members of the commission irrespective of gender.— Bernama