Massive task to seat MPs

Change of plans: The next Dewan Rakyat sitting has been postponed from March 9 to May 18.

PETALING JAYA: The Dewan Rakyat meeting may have been postponed to May 18 but the fluid political situation which sees shifting alliances and loyalties is making it a massive task to seat the MPs.

Initially, the Dewan Rakyat was to have its first meeting of the third session of the 14th Parliament on Monday, March 9.

Yesterday, Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof announced that it has now been deferred to May 18 and the House will sit for 15 days.

The postponement, however, could give room to ease some tension among the politicians following a week of turmoil that ended with the Pakatan Harapan government collapsing and the Perikatan Nasional coalition taking over.

The crisis was triggered by the pullout of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia from Pakatan, followed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s shock resignation last week.

Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, from Universiti Sains Malaysia, said this period is an approach for Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to focus on forming the government and stabilising the country after the uncertainty.

“As for Pakatan, they will find it as a weakness (on the new government), ” he said.

Sivamurugan also said the formation of Muhyiddin’s Cabinet is pertinent as it will describe who are on his team.

Muhyiddin, he said, will also focus on his party Bersatu, which is split now between the team backing him and another friendly towards Pakatan.“We may see him taking some drastic decision, which also depends on Dr Mahathir’s next move.

“However, the seating (in the Dewan Rakyat) will not change if those who are with Pakatan now return to Muhyiddin and Bersatu, ” said Sivamurugan.

The upcoming Parliamentary meeting will be heavily watched as Pakatan is expected to table a no-confidence vote against Muhyiddin – its former ally and the newly appointed Prime Minister under Perikatan.

Six MPs from Muhyiddin’s party, including Dr Mahathir, have openly said they did not support Muhyiddin, who is Bersatu president, as the Prime Minister.

Apart from Langkawi MP Dr Mahathir, the other five Bersatu MPs are Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir (Jerlun), Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Muar), Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah (Kubang Pasu), Dr Maszlee Malik (Simpang Renggam) and Eddin Syazlee Shith (Kuala Pilah).

The remaining Bersatu members, together with Barisan Nasional and PAS, have come together to form Perikatan Nasional, which has endorsed and accepted Muhyiddin as the eighth Prime Minister.

Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), which has 18 lawmakers, has pledged its support for Muhyiddin but said it will not join the new coalition.Sivamurugan said the delay in Parliament convening for its first meeting this year could also mean continuous realignment in political allegiances.

“Perikatan might continue to strengthen its coalition or be undermined by Pakatan. We might also see cracks within Pakatan during this period, ” he added.

DAP’s Bukit Gelugor lawmaker Ramkarpal Singh said while the adjournment of the Parliament meeting was expected, Muhyiddin should call for an urgent sitting in the public interest.

Ramkarpal said the urgent sitting should be done to determine if Muhyiddin indeed commands the majority of the House, noting that there are doubts about it.

This, Ramkarpal said, was provided for under Rule 11 (3) of the Parliament Standing Orders which states: “(3) If, during an adjournment of the House, it is represented to Tuan Yang di-Pertua by the Prime Minister that the public interest requires that the House should meet at an earlier date than that to which the House was adjourned, Tuan Yang di-Pertua shall give notice thereof forthwith and the House shall meet at the time stated in such notice. The business set down for that day shall be appointed by the Prime Minister and notice thereof shall be circulated not later than the time of meeting.”

Ramkarpal said the excuse that a Cabinet needs to be set up should not be used by Muhyiddin to “ignore the pressing question of whether he enjoys the majority in the House”.

“A date should be fixed for all MPs to meet in Parliament for said purpose. Other business of Parliament can be adjourned to May.

“Only the PM has the power to call for such a meeting pursuant to the Rule above and as such, I call upon Muhyiddin to do so immediately, ” said Ramkarpal in a statement.

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