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Dewan Rakyat – Perikatan Nasional’s First Parliamentary Sitting (LIVE)

Dewan Rakyat – Perikatan Nasional’s First Parliamentary Sitting (LIVE)

Akmal Hakim

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The Dewan Rakyat convenes for its first parliamentary debates since Perikatan Nasional (PN) took over from Pakatan Harapan (PH).

The First Meeting of the Third Term was originally scheduled to run from 9 March to 16 April, but it was postponed to a day-long session instead following the Covid-19 outbreak and the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO).

The meeting only featured the Royal address by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah as at the time, the country was still trying to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Day One – Monday, July 13, 2020

10:00 am – The bell has rung to start the first Parliamentary sitting with PN as government, led by BERSATU’s Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin facing off against PKR’s Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as leader of the Opposition.

10:10 am – PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is recognized as the Opposition Leader according to Speaker of the House Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof.

(YouTube/Astro Awani)

10:20 am – Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin said that the nation’s economy had grown by a 0.7% increase despite the Covid-19 crisis. Economic slowdowns are due to the recent nationwide MCO.

10:25 am – Muhyiddin Yassin (Bersatu-Pagoh) mentions that the government is developing strategies to strengthen the nation’s economy which would be presented under the Twelve Malaysia Plan 2021-2025. [Astro Awani]

10:30 am – Anwar Ibrahim (PKR-Port Dickson), questions the implementation of economic stimulus packages without plans and proposals being debated in Dewan Rakyat. In reply, the PM said it was an urgent matter and the government had to act to “protect the people”. Meanwhile, other voices can be heard saying a special sitting could have been called.

10:40 am – Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Semporna) expressed worries about the nation’s unemployment levels following the Covid-19 crisis as the people are struggling to survive. In reply, the PM said that unemployment in a post-Covid-19 world was a global problem and that Malaysia’s unemployment rate was at 5% or over 700,000 people. This number may increase to over 800,000 unemployed by the end of 2020. Muhyiddin added that government plans like the Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Program (PSU) have been able to mitigate the problem.

11:15 am – Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Permatang Pauh) asks how the government is preparing for future pandemics and what are the government’s efforts on developing vaccines. In reply, the Health Minister said that Malaysia was working with international agencies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) on clinical research to develop vaccines for Covid-19 which he says is currently in “Phase-3” and awaiting clinical approval.

11:30 am – The PN government has no intentions of replacing palm oil with bamboo as the nation’s main agricultural commodity, but instead wants to develop the bamboo industry to further its prospects as a source of revenue to the country, claiming that the previous PH administration had failed in its efforts to do so.

11:45 am – The Prime Minister has asked for Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof to step down as Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat. “We ask that the Speaker vacate the post as there is another candidate for Speaker of the House,” says Muhyiddin Yassin (Bersatu-Pagoh). Anwar Ibrahim (PKR-Port Dickson) asks that MPs be given time to debate and that the matter should not be rushed as it is of national importance. The House breaks into a commotion with voices asking why the Speaker must be replaced.

11:50 am – Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) asserts that the Speaker cannot be replaced unless the Speaker’s position is already empty. The Dewan breaks into another commotion, voices can be heard asking “What did the Speaker do wrong that he must be replaced?!” and “Who is running this House?!”.

(YouTube/Astro Awani)

12:00 pm – Anwar Ibrahim (PKR-Pakatan Harapan) argues that there was no wrongdoing by the Speaker to warrant his replacement, pointing out that previous replacements were made due to death or elections. “Mohamad Ariff has done a good job,” “As such, I ask for the Prime Minister not to make this mistake and tarnish the House,” and “This is the first time in history that a Speaker that has done his job admirably is being replaced without a proper reason,” says Anwar.

12:05 pm – Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) asks Anwar, “What is your intention?” adding that when PH took over, they elected a Speaker to replace the last one, and now that PN has taken over, they should have a chance to do the same.

12:10 pm – Khalid Samad (Amanah-Shah Alam) asks the PM to give “one reason” to why the Speaker should be removed.

12:15 pm – Datuk Dr. Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh (PAS-Pasir Puteh) says the new candidate is better and replacing the speaker is a normal thing in Parliament.

12:20 pm – Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Semporna) argued that “There is the Executive, Parliament, and Judiciary. There is a separation of powers. The Executive cannot intervene in Parliament.”

12:30 pm – (Independent-Langkawi) Tun Dr. Mahathir Muhammad (Independent-Langkawi) rejects the motion made by Muhyiddin to remove the Dewan Speaker as it goes against parliamentary norms. “I oppose this if this is a motion. I’m not sure if it’s a motion or not,” said Dr. Mahathir. “The composition of Parliament is the Government and the Opposition. Not every motion put forth by the Government will be passed.”

(YouTube/Astro Awani)

12.38 pm – Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) claims that the Prime Minister wants a Speaker that has the same objective as himself to which Khalid Samad (Amanah-Shah Alam) interjected that such a move would affect the independence of Parliament.

12:45 pm – In a closing statement from the government, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said that although the motion to remove the Speaker is the first in Parliament history, it is not illegal and has its basis in the Federal Constitution and parliamentary Standing Orders. “We are not firing the Speaker. We are asking that he vacate the position for a different candidate.” Adding that the Speaker can be chosen under three conditions; the first being after a General Election, the second when he quits being an MP, and the third is at any time when the House resolves to do so. “That is the issue, we are bringing it to the House. Not simply firing him.”

12:58 pm – The Dewan Rakyat has accepted the motion to a “bloc vote” on whether to remove the Speaker of the House.

1:15 pm – The Dewan Rakyat has agreed to a vote for the removal of the Dewan Rakyat Speaker with 111 MPs voting with the motion, while another 109 MPs are against it. before the session is adjourned for lunch.

2:30 pm – Dewan Rakyat speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof has officially vacated his position.  As the Dewan calls to nominate the next candidate for the Speaker’s post, Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP-Beruas) said that the Dewan must submit a 14-day notice for both the government and the opposition to name candidates. “We (the opposition) were not given 14-days to name a candidate,” he said.

2:45 pm – The Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon called on the Prime Minister to continue with naming his candidate for the Speaker’s post. Subsequently, Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun has been sworn in as the Speaker of the House without a clear vote. “Who voted for this speaker?!” asked Kasthuriraani Patto (DAP-Batu Kawan) loudly.

(YouTube/Astro Awani)

2:55 pm – Before even finishing his speech newly-sworn in Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun ejected Khalid Samad (Amanah-Shah Alam) till the end of today’s proceedings for interrupting.

3:00 pm – In his swearing-in speech to the House, Dewan Speaker Azhar Azizan asks that members of the Dewan to set aside their differences and politics for the good of the nation.

3:05 pm – The Dewan Rakyat moves to nominate a candidate for the Deputy Speaker’s post.

3.24 pm – Parliament was thrown into disarray when Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (BN-Baling) said “Too dark. Can’t see,” (Gelap sangat. Tak nampak) just as Kasthuriraani Patto (DAP-Batu Kawan) was speaking. He later said dark people could put on powder so they could be seen but then took it back and said he wasn’t saying it to her.

3.32 pm – Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan submits a motion for parliament to be suspended to tomorrow 11am.

3:35 pm – Parliament is adjourned.


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