Colourful 13th parliament first session
KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 24): The presence of 98 new faces with different
educational background and experiences at the Dewan Rakyat has certainly
added colour to the first session of the 13th Parliament.
The first session, which began on June 24 after the nation held its 13th
general election on May 5, began with an oath swearing ceremony for 222
Members of Parliament which included 54 new representatives from the
government and 44 from the opposition.
Compared with past sessions, this year no independent MPs were chosen to
represent the people in Parliament.
In the 13th general election, Barisan Nasional (BN) failed to obtain a
two-third majority when it only won 133 seats compared with140 seats in
2008, while the opposition won 89 seats compared with 82 seats in the
last general election.
Although the composition of the opposition has grown, the government
made up of new and old faces and the appointment of several new
ministers and deputy ministers continue to defend government policies
and the people.
Even before the session began, the opposition had staged a dramatic
scene by trying to boycott the oath swearing ceremony in protest of the
13th general election results.
They organised the Blackout 505 Assembly several days before the
ceremony but the so-called peaceful assembly turned violent when a group
of participants charged at the police barricade in front of the
Parliament building, resulting in the arrest of 32 individuals.
Despite the setback, 89 opposition representatives came to parliament,
led by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the reappointed opposition leader who
came to take his oath as a member of the Dewan Rakyat.
The drama continued during the election of the Dewan Rakyat Speaker
following the swearing in ceremony when Datuk Mahfuz Omar (PAS-Pokok
Sena) questioned the need to write voters’ names on ballots.
Although there was some discontentment among the opposition, Tan Sri
Pandikar Amin was reappointed Speaker after defeating Datuk Abdul Kadir
Sulaiman who was nominated by the opposition, as well as Beluran MP
Datuk Ronald Kiandee and Kuala Krau MP Datuk Ismail Mohamed as his deputy.
This year, the behaviour and quirks of MPs can be seen through an
hour-long live broadcast by Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) at 10am
compared to only 30 minutes in the past.
This time around, the opposition paraded new faces in Parliament,
comprising Mohd Rafizi Ramli (PKR-Pandan), Mohamed Hanifa Maidin
(PAS-Sepang) Takiyuddin Hassan (PAS-Kota Baharu), Shamsul Iskandar Mohd
Akin (PKR-Bukit Katil) and N. Surendran (PKR-Padang Serai).
As a result of being too vocal, Surendran was asked to leave the House
twice before he was suspended six months for making wild allegations
against Pandikar Amin and challenging his decision to reject an
For the BN, even without the presence of the vocal former Seri Gading MP
Datuk Mohamad Aziz and other veteran representatives who have been
promoted to minister and deputy minister posts, the line up of new and
old faces continued to smoother allegations made by the opposition.
New Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan
Kassim (BN-Arau), who also holds a parliament portfolio, did not
disappoint as he was always quick to repel attacks by the opposition.
During debate sessions, the opposition continuously expressed
unhappiness regarding the 13th general election results, claiming they
deserved to form the government of the day after obtaining 51 per cent
of the votes.
The government questioned the issue, saying the opposition had no right
to claim victory over the outcome of popular voters as they contested
according to their respective parties compared to BN.
Despite their differences in Parliament, the BN and opposition members
shared the same affection for the nation when national security and
sovereignty came under a serious threat from outsiders.
The government and opposition were both united in urging the culprits
behind the Lahad Datu incident (March) to be revealed and punished so as
to avoid questions from the public.
Throughout the 2013 Parliament sessions, three bills scheduled for
second readings were retracted from the order of business, especially
one relating to a child’s religious status should one of their parents
convert to Islam.
They are the Religion of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013, Syariah
Court Civil Procedure (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2013 and
Syariah Criminal Procedures (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2013.
Twelve other bills set for second readings were postponed for the next
session, namely the Penal Code Bill (Amendment) 2013, Security Offences
(Special Measures)(Amendment) Bill 2013, Prison (Amendment) Bill 2013
and Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill 2013.
It also included the Evidence (Amendment) Bill 2013, Corrosive and
Explosive Substances and Offensive Weapons (Amendment) Bill 2013,
Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Us (Amendment) Bill 2013,
Common Gaming Houses (Amendment) Bill 2013 and Lotteries (Amendment)
Bill 2013, Pool Betting (Amendment) Bill 2013, Fees (Department of
Museums Malaysia) (Validation) Bill 2013; and Dangerous Drugs
(Amendment) Bill 2013.
In the second sitting of Parliament on Oct 22, the Penal Code Bill
(Amendment) 2013, which allocated a heavier penalty for those who
committed sexual offences, organised crime or hurt their partners was
This was followed by the passing of the Security Offences (Special
Measures)(Amendment) Bill 2013 on Oct 24, despite the opposition’s
The Supply Bill 2014 was also passed for development expenses which was
tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Oct 25 and
debated until Dec 3.