Parliament sitting Monday, to focus on redelineations

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Source: The Malay Mail Online

Malaysian Parliament sitting — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 — The first meeting, the sixth term and 13th parliament sitting, will begin on Monday with the election issue expected to dominate the Dewan Rakyat scheduled for 20 days until April 5.

The conference which will be opened by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V will attract the general public as it is said to be the last session before Parliament is dissolved to make way for the 14th General Elections (GE14), which many predicted would be held very soon.

This conference is also remarkable because the session was sitting until the sixth term, compared to the usual fifth term, before being dissolved for GE14.

However, it does not violate any regulation as the session of the 13th Parliament is not over and it will only be dissolved automatically when the five-year mandate of the Barisan Nasional-led government expires on June 24, 2018.

As highlighted, the “Review of the Boundaries of Parliamentary and State Election Divisions for Peninsular and Sabah” is expected to be among the key agenda that will warm up this session.

Although, it is not certain the proposal will be submitted at this meeting, the public hearings on protests over the second recommendation of the redelineation of the electoral divisions in Selangor which ended yesterday became a major indication the delineation proposal will be resolved prior to the dissolution of Parliament.

The Federal Constitution allows for delineations for a minimum of every eight years or in the event of the creation of a new territory or the addition/reduction of the number of seats.

The last time the re-delineation of the constituency was made in 2003.

Previous news reports say the delineation of the Peninsular and Sabah is almost complete except in Selangor which is still in the second stage of the recommendation.

The presentation of the motion to Parliament can only be implemented on condition that the Election Commission (EC) has completed the objection hearing session for the delineations in Selangor.

However, constitutional expert Associate Professor Shamrahayu Abd Aziz said that although the sitting of Dewan Rakyat would last until April 5, based on existing provisions, Parliament could be dissolved at any time with the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, even during the session.

According to her, the sixth-term meeting was seen to be used by the government to resolve its affairs, including the redelineation proposal and it could dissolve Parliament as soon as the matter was resolved.

“The Dewan Rakyat meeting which takes place for the sixth term was the first time taking in the history of Parliament as the practise of Parliament was to dissolve for the general election after the meeting on the fifth term.

“However, this is not strange because the government may want to resolve its affairs or to prepare all MPs before the general election,” she said.

Prior to this, Dewan Rakyat Secretary Datuk Roosme Hamzah in a recent statement said the Dewan Rakyat siting will begin with the opening ceremony opened by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V who would also deliver a speech.

The next sitting will debate the Royal Address for two weeks before each relevant ministry wind up the debate on the third week.

“The fourth and fifth weeks are debates for other government businesses and bills,” she said, expecting that other than the delineation proposal, the Dewan Rakyat will discuss a bill on false news.

The First Meeting, The First Term of the 13th Parliament was held on June 24, 2013, shortly after the 13th General Election with Barisan Nasional commencing session with 133 Members of Parliaments compared to the opposition, DAP, PKR and PAS who formed Pakatan Rakyat with 89 parliamentarians.

After five years gone by with various changes in the country’s political landscape, the latest position saw BN’s parliamentary seats diminishing to 132, while the opposition split into Pakatan Harapan and the third block, PAS, had 87 seats with three more seats held by Independent representatives.

If no announcement is made, the Parliament will dissolve by itself on June 24 and GE14 should be held within 60 days after that. — Bernama