Anwar and PH’s first budget among highlights as Dewan Rakyat convenes

KUALA LUMPUR: The second sitting of the Dewan Rakyat begins tomorrow, ahead of the tabling of the 2019 Budget, the first national budget prepared by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government after winning the May 9 polls.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng will table the budget.

Lim had earlier said that the budget this time would be a difficult one for the federal government, while Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad hinted that it would be smaller than last year’s due to unfavourable economic conditions.

In the last budget, the then Barisan Nasional government announced RM280.25 billion for operating and development expenditures.

Tomorrow’s sitting will also see the return of Anwar Ibrahim to the Dewan Rakyat, after winning the Port Dickson by-election by a huge majority yesterday.

He last spoke in the Dewan Rakyat as the Permatang Pauh MP. He was disqualified after the Federal Court upheld his conviction and five-year jail sentence in 2015.

Anwar was released on May 16 following a royal pardon by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, a week after PH took over Putrajaya.

The composition of seats in the Dewan Rakyat will also see a slight change as BN is left with only 51 seats after three Umno MPs – Mustapa Mohamed (Jeli), Anifah Aman (Kimanis) and Rozman Isli (Labuan) – quit the party.

Mustapa and Anifah are now Independent MPs, while Rozman has defected to Warisan.

The motion to abolish the Sedition Act 1948 and laws that prescribe mandatory death by hanging, are also expected topics to be debated.

It was reported that the Attorney-General Chamber’s was in the midst of preparing the papers concerning the motion to abolish the laws.

PH had vowed to abolish the Sedition Act 1948, Prevention of Crime Act 1959, Universities and University Colleges Act 1971, Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, National Security Council Act 2016 and laws that prescribe mandatory death by hanging.

Dewan Rakyat will also see the tabling of the Half Term Review of the 11th Malaysia Plan by Mahathir on Oct 18.

Dewan Rakyat secretary Roosme Hamzah in a statement recently said the debate on the review would begin in the second week of the meeting.