Dewan Rakyat reconvenes for its final meeting

THE Dewan Rakyat reconvened yesterday for its final meeting before the general election is called.

For the MPs, the election fever has taken hold of them. Everyone was asking when would the elections be held.

However, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak posted back the question to the press when he was approached by reporters seeking clues on the election date.

“So when is the elections?” he asked in jest as he was leaving Parliament House after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V opened the first meeting of the sixth session of the 13th Parliament.

The Dewan Rakyat will sit for 20 days until April 5, and this is expected to be the last meeting before the 14th General Election is called.

The Dewan Negara is scheduled to sit from April 16 to 30.

Among the highlights of the Dewan Rakyat meeting will be the Election Commission’s redelineation of electoral boundaries report, and a proposed Bill to counter fake news.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s Royal Address made no mention of the general election.

However, the speech ended in about 10 minutes, which was unusually brief when past speeches usually took at least 40 minutes or more.

Some MPs began to wonder if this was an indication that the Dewan Rakyat meeting would be dissolved for the elections before its full term ends on April 5.

Kuala Nerus MP Datuk Dr Khai­rudin Aman Razali At-takiri asked if the brief length of the Royal Address signalled that the Parlia­ment meeting would be for a short period.

“However, the Government needs to consider the report of the redelineation process which must go through the Dewan Rakyat,” he said.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong welcomed what he described as a “short and precise” speech by the King.

“The speech covered almost every issue of concern to Malaysians when everyone is gearing up for the general election,” he said, adding that the Barisan Nasional MPs are ready for the big day.

Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong also said that this was the “shortest Royal Address I have witnessed in my 10 years as an MP”.

While Liew expects the meeting to run its full course, Kuala Selangor MP Datuk Seri Dr Irmohizam Ibrahim said it will depend on the Prime Minister.

“I have no problem if the parliamentary meeting is cut short as we abide by the parliamentary orders. Until then, it’s business as usual,” he said.

Labis MP Datuk Chua Tee Yong said the dissolution of Parliament will be on June 24.

“We still have a lot of time,” he said.

Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister and Kota Marudu MP Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said it was immaterial when Parliament is dissolved, as Sabah is ready for the polls.

“I expect it will be dissolved soon after the redelineation report is tabled and passed by Parliament,” he said.

Related stories:

King opens sixth term of 13th Parliament

King: Social media main culprit in spread of false info

‘King shows concern by supporting law’

Fake news law ready in two weeks

Speaker urges MPs to keep cool

Ministry mulls cops in schools

Maximus approves FT water proposal