Dewan Rakyat postponed to May 18, allows ‘grace period’ to lessen politicking

The pushback will give Muhyiddin time to take stock of the country’s overall condition and decide on his Cabinet line-up

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE parliamentary sitting set for next week has been deferred by two months to May 18, according to a statement by Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof yesterday.

The first sitting has been moved from March 9 to May 18, about a week before Hari Raya Aidilfitri, with the second and third sittings pushed back to July 27 and Sept 28 respectively. The schedule was decided by Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who was sworn in on March 1.

Mohamad Ariff said the determination of the new dates was in line with Rule 11(2) of the Standing Orders of the Dewan Rakyat.

Universiti Putra Malaysia associate Prof Dr Mohd Izani Mohd Zain has agreed with the decision to postpone the sitting as the new government is still taking shape.

“Firstly, we can consider this as a period (for all MPs) to gather their composure and scale down on their politicking. Secondly, it grants time to the executive, which is the PM and his new Cabinet, to focus on their immediate tasks,” Mohd Izani told The Malaysian Reserve when contacted.

The pushback will give Muhyiddin time to take stock of the country’s overall condition and decide on his Cabinet line-up — which he promised will comprise individuals who are capable and have integrity. It will also allow the new PM to shore up support and prove his majority in a divided Parliament.

Mohd Izani expects the new dates to have a psychological impact to the sitting as they fall on the last 10 days of the holy month of Ramadhan. “The new dates are expected to give an advantage to the government,” he said.

In a press conference held later in the day, Umno secretary general Tan Sri Annuar Musa described the postponement as a necessary move given that many things need to be sorted out.

The Ketereh MP said Pakatan Harapan also took two months to convene Parliament following their general election win on May 9, 2018. The first Parliament session was set for July 16 that year.

Annuar said the new administration will need time to make key decisions in due course including a new Cabinet line-up and the nomination of a new Dewan Rakyat speaker. He said the government and Opposition will also require time to prepare questions to be asked in the lower house.

Muhyiddin was sworn in on Sunday after a week of political turmoil. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah appointed Muhyiddin as the PM as he believed Muhyiddin had the support of the majority in Parliament.