KUALA LUMPUR: A new King officiated the first meeting of the fifth term of the 13th Parliament in the refurbished Parliament building on Monday.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V arrived at Parliament at 10.30am clad in a blue baju Melayu to inspect the guard of honour
He was accompanied by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as he entered the august House to deliver his royal address.
This session features a motion that is bound to spark feverish discussion; the Private Member’s Bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act.
The Bill brought by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang seeks to further empower Syariah Courts by giving them jurisdiction to mete out harsher punishments for offences, except for those that carry the death penalty.
Abdul Hadi has repeatedly assured lawmakers and the public that the amendments were not a form of hudud but this has done little to ease the fears of non-Muslim MPs.
Barisan Nasional coalition parties and several Opposition parties have objected to the proposed amendments, saying that they contravene the Federal Constitution because the country should not have dual criminal justice systems.
Another motion is the fight to curb sexual crimes against children and the Government is expected to introduce the Child Sexual Crimes Bill, which proposes to make sexual grooming illegal.
There will also be a special session on Tuesday to commemorate Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 which went missing on March 8, 2014.
The meeting of Parliament will end on April 6.