Reports by MERGAWATI ZULFAKAR, MARTIN CARVALHO,LOSHANA K.SHAGAR and ROYCE TAN
KUALA LUMPUR: Ninety lawmakers will make their debut appearance as MPs in the Dewan Rakyat next month – the biggest number of newbies the august House has ever seen.
Dewan Rakyat secretary Datuk Roosme Hamzah calls July 16, 2018, which is the first meeting of the first term of the 14th Parliament, a historic date.
“The Parliament landscape will be very different because we will be seeing senior parliamentarians alongside very young MPs, like Batu MP P. Prabakaran (PKR), who is still a student,” she said.
Roosme was speaking to reporters after a briefing session for MPs yesterday.
She said the briefing was essential for the “new kids on the block” to understand parliamentary rules, especially those involving Question Time and tabling of Bills.
The upcoming Parliament meeting, which will last for 20 days, will also witness the comeback of 11 former MPs alongside 121 MPs from the 13th Parliament who were successfully re-elected.
Roosme said lawmakers must submit their questions for Question Time before Friday.
On the candidate for Speaker, she said her office had not received any motion from the Government as yet, but it should be submitted at least 14 days before Parliament reopens.
Meanwhile, the newly-minted MPs, who were excited at the thought of being in the august House, have begun to familiarise themselves with the Dewan rules.
Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah, the former Bersih 2.0 chairman who stood under the PKR ticket, has been making preparations on submitting questions for Question Time.
“I have also been doing research on key issues I want to raise in Parliament, centring on electoral as well as parliamentary reforms,” she said.
PKR’s Alor Setar MP Chan Ming Kai found his experience as a two-term state assemblyman in Perlis and Perak very useful to organise his thoughts.
“The issues I intend to raise are not unfamiliar to me; it’s just that I now have to consider the national level instead of just the state.
“One of the issues I want to raise is citizenship, which I hope to find a resolution for during my time as MP,” he said.
Kuala Langat MP Dr Xavier Jayakumar is also relying on his experience as a Selangor assemblyman, but he is aware that the federal level is more challenging.
“Most new MPs from PKR are seeking advice from the senior MPs on protocol and how questions are raised in Dewan,” the PKR vice-president said, adding that PKR has a parliamentary secretariat which organises programmes for their MPs.
Cameron Highlands MP Datuk Sivarraajh Chandran believed that as an Opposition MP, he could play a check-and-balance role against the Government’s policies and initiatives.
“I have proposed the idea of a shadow Cabinet to the Barisan Nasional leadership so that we can effectively study and debate Bills that will be brought to the House,” the MIC Youth chief said.
Pakatan Harapan-friendly Parti Warisan Sabah’s Penampang MP Darell Leiking expects new MPs to be brave, to speak up and also to point out any laws that need to be reviewed.
“They must bring with them a new kind of Parliament – one that is vibrant and exciting,” the second-term MP said.