Budget 2020 highlight of new Dewan Rakyat meeting

The Dewan Rakyat will reconvene tomorrow after a two-month break.

KUALA LUMPUR: The tabling of Budget 2020, the bill to repeal the mandatory death sentence and the Defence White Paper will highlight the new meeting of the Dewan Rakyat which reconvenes tomorrow after a two-month adjournment.

The third meeting of the second term of the 14th Parliament will take place for 36 days until Dec 5.

It will see the introduction of several bills and amendments to existing bills to improve the legal and administration systems.

On Friday, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng will table Budget 2020 – his second – detailing the amounts to be allocated and distributed to the various sectors.

This year’s Budget, themed “Credible Malaysia, Dynamic Economy, Prosperous Rakyat”, provided an allocation of RM314.5 billion.

Attention will also be paid to the tabling of the amendment to the mandatory death sentence for 11 serious crimes after the government decided to replace it with a jail term.

Currently, the law provides for a mandatory death sentence for offences under the Penal Code such as murder, armed robbery and waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, as well as for offences under the Firearms (Heavy Penalties) Act 1971.

The first “serious” business of the house, however, will be the tabling of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill 2019 by de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong for second reading.

The bill, first tabled on July 18, aims at replacing the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) with IPCMC to enhance integrity among enforcement officers and law enforcement agencies and act as an independent body to look into police complaints more holistically.

Liew has also reportedly said the government would initiate another attempt to repeal Anti-Fake News Act during this meeting of Parliament.

In September last year, the Dewan Negara rejected the Anti-Fake News (Repeal) Bill 2018, passed a month earlier by the Dewan Rakyat. Liew then said the government would retable the bill.

Two new bills – on political donations and the establishment of an ombudsman – are also expected to be tabled during the meeting, according to National Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Centre (GIACC) director-general Abu Kassim Mohamed.

He was reported as saying the two bills were part of the key initiatives under the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) 2019-2023 which focuses on improving governance, integrity and anti-corruption after Pakatan Harapan took over the government.

Also expected to be tabled is the National Defence White Paper – the first in Malaysia – taking examples from other countries including Brunei, Australia, Germany and New Zealand.

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu had said the drafting of the document had taken into account the views of all stakeholders, including university professors, and encompassed, among others, competitive salary restructuring, special allowances and incentives, medical and healthcare benefits, and housing programmes.

The government is also expected to table a bill to regulate food bank activities aimed at protecting food donors from legal action in the event of untoward incidents, and a bill to improve waqf management.

Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran had also said the Employment Act 1955 would be amended to protect the rights of workers, reduce work hours and tackle the issue of forced labour. The last time the act was amended was in 2013.