New sitting date to allow govt time to prepare

KUALA LUMPUR: The postponement of the Parliament sitting was not done deliberately but to meet the needs of the new coalition government and the Opposition so that enough time is given to prepare for the meeting, says Tan Sri Annuar Musa.

The Umno secretary-general said each Parliament meeting had certain agendas and for the coming session, the ruling coalition needed to choose a new Speaker.

“MPs need to prepare and send in their oral and written questions while ministries too require time to answer the questions.

“So it is impossible to meet in March or April, ” he told a press conference after a meeting with MCA leaders yesterday.

On Wednesday, Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof announced that the upcoming Parliament meeting would reconvene on May 18, replacing the date scheduled on March 9.

Annuar said when Pakatan Harapan formed the government, they too had to wait for two months before Parliament could sit.

He said Parliament needed to meet within six months from the last session on Dec 5 last year.

“The next sitting should be held before June 5. So, based on the Speaker’s announcement, it will be on May 18, ” he said.

Annuar refuted allegations that the government was afraid to have the Parliament meeting earlier.

“It’s not because we want to cause a delay but it must be done properly and fully compliant with the Standing Order.

“We must give enough time to carry out government matters and for all MPs to table a motion or send in their oral or written questions, ” he said.

On other matters, Annuar said he had a discussion with MCA secretary-general Datuk Chong Sin Woon and his team on how to strengthen their election machinery ahead of the next general election.

He said Barisan Nasional and Muafakat Nasional needed to stay focused by making early preparations.

“We had an exchange of information and opinions, ” he said, adding that they also discussed the people’s sentiment and the need to adopt a more sensitive and responsive approach.

Annuar said they acknowledged the need to correct wrong perceptions, which led to voters’ rejecting their parties.

Chong said such discussions had been ongoing and that it was resumed after the recent political tussle.

Asked if it was in anticipation of a snap polls in the event that Parliament is dissolved, he said: “No. We have been planning it all along.”

But Chong said it would help them to be better prepared should it happen.

Also present were Wanita MCA chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie, MCA Youth chief Nicole Wong, MCA headquarters chief administrative director Datuk Lim Chin Hai and MCA publicity bureau head Chan Quin Er.

Separately, PAS said it would not place any requests or conditions on the appointment of Cabinet ministers.

But party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang suggested the appointment of professionals for the posts and that the new ministers should also represent the plural society.

“We are leaving it to the wisdom of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to make the appointments.

“I appreciate the Prime Minister’s invitation for us to give our views on the formation of the new Cabinet, ” he said, adding that those appointed must have integrity, are qualified, skilled and experienced.

Hadi said the selection of professionals could help to boost the economy and improve areas such as education, health and welfare.

“We also propose the setting up of hisbah (ombudsman) in the new administration, ” he said.

On March 1, Muhyiddin was sworn in as the country’s eighth Prime Minister before the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.

In his first address to the nation, Muhyiddin pledged to appoint Cabinet members of calibre, who have integrity and a clean track record.

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