By P PREM KUMAR & DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By TMR
The Dewan Rakyat session opened yesterday with Pakatan Harapan for the first time leading the government, ending 60 years of a single party rule.
The event had been closely watch by the public as a new government looked set to fulfil its election promises. Barisan Nasional (BN) representatives for the first time were leading the Opposition front. Yet the first day of the Dewan Rakyat was not free from commotion.
Here are five things you could have missed on the first day of the Dewan Rakyat sitting after the historic 14th General Election (GE14).
1. While the majority of the Muslim MPs chose to wear customary black baju Melayu for the swearing in ceremonies, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad came dressed in a dark grey double-breasted suit, a light-purple shirt and red tie.
Dr Mahathir returned to the Dewan Rakyat with a double-breasted coat which has on its front two symmetrical columns of buttons. The design was popular from the mid-1930s until the late 1950s, and again from the mid-1980s to the early 2000s in the US. He is making a statement that an old design works in the new Malaysia.
2. Dr Mahathir and Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak created history to be two former prime ministers (PMs) swearing in as MPs, after retiring from the top position.
Najib, who was PM since 2009, returned to the Dewan Rakyat after the ruling BN suffered a historic defeat in GE14. He is also the first Malaysian PM to become an Opposition lawmaker.
Dr Mahathir retired as the country’s fourth PM in November 2003. He returned as an MP in the last election by winning the Langkawi constituency.
3. A Dewan Rakyat with the highest newbies. A total of 90 lawmakers made their debut at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, the highest in the country’s history.
Batu MP P Prabakaran is the youngest MP in history at the age of 22, while Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman is the youngest Cabinet minister at 26. Moreover, 11 ex-parliamen- tarians alongside 121 MPs from the 13th Parliament were re-elected in the last election.
4. It seems Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin and Kimanis MP Datuk Seri Anifah Aman did not get the memo about the walk-out during the Dewan Rakyat session. While the rest of the Opposition MPs decided to stage a walk-out and went for breakfast, the two MPs remained seated, exhibiting rare bipartisan politics.
Khairy and Anifah remained in the hall for the entire proceedings. The former federal ministers expressed their disappointment over the walk-out.
Khairy said a walk-out is not the solution to resolve disputes and would only affect BN’s image.
Meanwhile, Anifah said the speaker’s appointment is a petty issue that did not warrant a walk-out or protest.
“If the issue raised would have impacted the livelihood of the people, I would have walked out too. But in this case, we have raised our concern and that’s it,” he said.
5. Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, who was sworn in as the Dewan Rakyat speaker yesterday, had his fair share of criticisms from Opposition MPs. But he demonstrated a very calm and composed figure despite the walk-out.
With such calm in his composure and look, the silver-haired former judge looks almost like Hollywood mega star Robert De Niro, 74.
De Niro is known for block- busters like The Godfather, Midnight Run and The King of Comedy. Mohamad Ariff has De Niro’s look with sharp features, a passive voice — and even the glasses. One thing is for sure, he needs to be a “Godfather” to prepare for the upcoming onslaught from Opposition MPs.