KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 — The debate on the motion of thanks for the royal address ended today with 110 MPs taking part during the seven-day sitting of the Dewan Rakyat which began on March 1.
Various issues were raised by MPs from both the opposition and the government, with the most prominent on floods, corruption and politics that which were also mentioned by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah in his address when opening the First Meeting of the Fifth Session of the 14th Parliament last Feb 28.
There were also MPs who ‘campaigned’ when touching on the Johor state election to an extent that Speaker Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun had to rebuke them.
Issues pertaining to climate change, floods, demands for more parliamentary seats for Sabah and Sarawak as well as the claims by the so-called descendants of the last Sultan of Sulu, involving compensation worth RM62 billion, continued to be the focus of the MPs in the second week of the meeting.
The issues, raised during the debate session, as well as during the question and answer session, demanded appropriate steps to be taken by the government to address them.
On Sabah and Sarawak to have more parliamentary seats, the matter was raised by the MPs from the two states during the debate session and they also suggested that the redelineation of constituencies be implemented to make the composition of the distribution of seats for the two states more balanced.
The claims for compensation by the so-called descendants of the Sultan of Sulu also attracted the attention of a MP from Sabah who submitted a motion on the matter, but it was rejected by the Dewan Rakyat Speaker.
However, the issue was explained at length by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar during the Ministers’ Question Time.
He said that the Malaysian government did not recognise the claims and arbitration proceedings by the French Arbitration Court in Paris which ordered Malaysia to pay approximately RM62.59 billion (US$14.92 billion) to the so-called descendants of the last Sultan of Sulu.
It would be unusual if members of the House did not touch on politics during the debate or when they intervened during the question and answer session and this week saw the MPs from the opposition bloc expressing their objection to having state or general election for the moment , but for political stability to be maintained to ensure the COVID-19 post-pandemic recovery process could be implemented.
Other matters that were touched this week was on the empowerment of the parliamentary institution which was raised by Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (BN-Pengerang) who suggested the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) to be “fearless” in calling government officials to testify on any issue, when necessary.
The International Women’s Day celebration on March 8 also stole the spotlight with members of the house, including ministers and deputy ministers wishing ‘Happy Women’s Day’ when they stood up to ask questions or to debate.
In fact, in conjunction with the International Women’s Day, it also witnessed the Parliament holding for the first time the ‘Bual Bicara Bersama YB’ programme, with the theme ‘Saksama Bersama’ in recognition of women’s contributions and services in supporting the government’s policy, and it will be made an annual event to discuss women-related topics.
The current Parliament session is for 16 days from Feb 28 to March 24.
The Parliament meeting next week will see the government winding up the debate to address issues raised by all 110 MPs.