KUALA LUMPUR: The presence of 98 new faces with different educational backgrounds 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 the 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 to past sessions, no independent MPs were chosen to represent the people in Parliament this year.
In the 13th general election, Barisan Nasional failed to obtain a two-third majority when it only won 133 seats compared to 140 seats in 2008, while the opposition won 89 seats compared to 82 seats in the last general election.
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 a street rally several days before the ceremony. However, 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 protest by their supporters, 89 opposition representatives came to the Parliament, led by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the reappointed Opposition leader who came to take his oath as a member of the House.
The drama continued during the election of the House 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 Baru), 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 for six months for making wild allegations against Pandikar Amin and challenging his decision to reject an emergency motion.
For 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 smother allegations made by the Opposition. — Bernama