PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s 14th Parliament has passed 133 laws since MPs were voted in after the last general election in 2018.
Some of the legislations enacted since GE14 can be considered ground-breaking, such as those lowering the voting age and preventing MPs from switching parties.
With the third meeting of the fifth session of the Dewan Rakyat starting today amid speculation of an imminent GE15, let’s take a closer look at the laws that have been passed so far.
The following are some of the most significant:
One of the biggest achievements of the current Parliament are the amendments to the Federal Constitution, which requires support from two-thirds of the MPs.
No single party or coalition holds a two-thirds majority in the current Parliament, but a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on Sept 13, 2021 between the government and Pakatan Harapan to bring political stability to the country led to several ground-breaking new laws.
Among others, the MOU outlined an anti-party hopping law and that Parliament was not to be dissolved before that date.
On July 28, all 209 MPs present in the House voted in favour of the constitutional amendments to create the anti-hopping provisions within the Federal Constitution.
Through the amendment, MPs who defect from the political party they represented as election candidates or those who became independent will have to vacate their parliamentary seats.
A prior constitutional amendment in July 2019 which was also unanimously passed in Parliament saw the lowering of the minimum voting age to 18 from 21, as well as allowing for automatic voter registration.
The law, which has been gazetted and in force since Dec 15 last year, will allow 21.2million Malaysians to vote in GE15.
The House also unanimously passed constitutional amendments in December last year to restore equal status to Sarawak and Sabah under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
More than 100 laws passed since GE14
Almost half or 46% of the 133 laws passed by the 14th Parliament focused on the country’s finances.
Among others, it included replacing GST with SST, allocating funds for the government’s expenditure to reduce the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and empowering the Finance Ministerto extend several tax payments period in the event of an emergency or public health crisis.
A total of 29 new bills have been passed by the House, which included the long-awaited Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill, which will allow victims of sexual harassment (verbal, non-verbal, visual, gestural or physical) to report the harassment and have their case heard in a closed-door tribunal.
The following shows the types of laws that have been passed in Parliament, based on the ministry involved:
Other laws have been amended to include harsher punishments for offences, such as heavier penalties for traffic offences, the increase in prison sentences for human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, and hefty fines and jail term for individuals found guilty of employing children under 15 years old.
Friday’s tabling of Budget 2023 will be a key focus of Parliament, along with the tabling of the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022, which seeks to prohibit those born on and after Jan 1, 2007, from purchasing or possessing cigarettes or vape products.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said he was confident that the Bill, which is still being reviewed and studied by a Parliamentary Select Committee, will receive the support of the majority of MPs.
On Aug 2, the Dewan Rakyat agreed that the Tobacco Product and Smoking Control Bill 2022 be referred to a Parliamentary Select Committee to examine and make recommendations for improvement, when the Bill was in its second reading.
The Bill was deemed by some MPs to be limiting freedom of choice after it was tabled in July.
Khairy said the select committee has met three times and that discussions have proceeded smoothly with committee members studying the proposed amendments.
The Bill is among eight bills that have been tabled for its first reading in Parliament this year.
The following shows how Parliament enacts of a law: