Parliament Sticks to Govt Matters on May 18 Sitting, No Room for Motion Against PM

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Government matters will be prioritised at the one-day Parliament sitting on May 18, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Takiyuddin Hassan said today.

This means the notices for a motion of no-confidence against Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is unlikely to be debated on that day, even if it has been accepted by the Dewan Rakyat speaker.

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“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong will give the royal address, and after he has left, the Dewan Rakyat will start with government matters and then we will postpone the meeting till July,”   media quoted Takiyuddin as saying at a briefing today to outline the agenda for the sitting.

Government matters for the day include two supplementary supply bills that will be tabled for first reading. The bills are for government spending on financial aid to mitigate the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Takiyuddin said the second and third readings of the bills will be brought to the July session of the Dewan Rakyat.

Other government matters on the agenda are the selection of an opposition leader, appointment of an opposition MP to head the Public Accounts Committee, a motion to postpone debates on the Agong’s royal address, and the appointment of a select committee.

Takiyuddin said the Dewan Rakyat’s Standing Orders prioritise government business over other matters raised by MPs.

An April 17 notice to all MPs by the Dewan Rakyat secretary had also stated that there will be no question time, ministers’ answers or private members’ motions held on the May 18 sitting.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof has accepted the notice by Langkawi MP Dr Mahathir Mohamad to table a motion of no-confidence against Muhyiddin.

Muhyiddin was sworn in as prime minister on March 1 after the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government fell through defections and plotting in late February.

However, the speaker’s acceptance of the notice does not mean the motion must be debated on May 18, as government matters take priority.

“If they aren’t debated, they will be heard at the next sitting (in July),” Takiyuddin said, stressing that the government does not interfere with the Dewan Rakyat speaker’s decision whether to accept or reject motions.

The July parliamentary session will be held from July 13 until August 27.

Takiyuddin dismissed the opposition’s claims that Putrajaya is “afraid” of allowing parliamentary oversight in its move to hold a one-day sitting.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic does not allow for a longer session, and that the May 18 meeting, even if only for a day, will prevent the automatic dissolution of the Dewan Rakyat.

The meeting will be the first for Parliament this year and was postponed from March 9 initially, after the change in government.

PH has accused the Perikatan Nasional government of being afraid of having a longer session for fear that Muhyiddin’s legitimacy as prime minister will be challenged. – TMI