New govt in the hot seat when Dewan sits on Monday

The second meeting of the Dewan Rakyat will begin on Monday, following its one-day meeting on May 18.

KUALA LUMPUR: Cabinet ministers in the new Perikatan Nasional government will face their first test when the Dewan Rakyat sits again on Monday to resume its third session.

The house had held its first meeting on May 18 for just a day, for the royal address by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, because of restrictions to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Next week’s meeting is speculated to be a heated one over a motion for Speaker, Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, and his deputy, Nga Kor Ming, to vacate their positions on grounds there are other names to be nominated.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is expected to also move a motion to appoint former Election Commission chairman Azhar Azizan Harun and Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said to replace Ariff and Nga respectively.

Azhar resigned from the EC on June 29.

Opposition MPs, however, are against the move to replace Ariff and Nga.

Now that Perikatan Nasional has taken over the government, all eyes will also be on the seating arrangements for MPs, especially among the opposition and independent MPs.

Former Pakatan Harapan chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced last week that he and five other MPs will form an independent bloc together with the Warisan party of Sabah.

There has been no official word yet on seating arrangements, except for a notice for MPs to be seated one metre apart from each other.

The Dewan Rakyat will sit for 25 days until Aug 27 and will focus on the motion of thanks to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the debate on the royal address, as well as replies by ministers.

Among the bills expected to be tabled is the Covid-19 Temporary Measures Bill to minimise the economic, social and industrial impact of Covid-19.

Amendments to the Road Transport Act 1987 involving those driving under the influence of alcohol are also expected to be tabled, after a rise in fatalities caused by drink-driving.

Two important finance-related bills also expected to be presented are the Supplementary Supply Bills for 2019 and 2020.

The house will also debate a motion to declare the appointment of the Opposition Leader, the appointment of select committees as well as the chairman and deputy chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.

The PN government had decided to continue with the practice of appointing an MP from the Opposition to head the PAC while the deputy will be a government backbencher.

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