Nazri saves the day for BN

Written by Chan Kok Leong, The Edge

Opposition members of parliament were just one vote short of creating history today when a government motion was almost defeated.

When Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia called for a bloc vote on the passing of a section of the DNA Identification Bill at the committee stage, he found that those not in favour were more than those who supported the Bill.

The DNA Bill passed the second reading in parliament on Aug 28, the same day that Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in into parliament. Anwar is currently facing sodomy charges and DNA evidence will be crucial in his trial.

Pandikar called for the bell to be sounded so that a division vote could be taken and Barisan Nasional backbenchers were seen scrambling into the House.

Last to arrive was Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who came running into the House from his office. He nevertheless proved to be the decisive vote as the final tally put BN at 48 votes against the opposition's 47.

According to Pandikar, who has been an MP since 1990, this was the first time that a government Bill was "almost" defeated.

"The section was approved by a whisker," he added at the parliament lobby later.