23 June 2013

The 13th Parliament of Malaysia had a chaotic opening this morning as opposition members opposed the need to write their names onto the ballot to propose the Dewan Rakyat speaker.

Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia (pic) was re-installed as the Speaker after receiving 133 votes.

Just minutes earlier, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had proposed Pandikar as Speaker again for this term, supported by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim had proposed former Federal Court judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman for the post, seconded by DAP chairman and Bukit Gelugor MP, Karpal Singh.

Puchong’s Gobind Singh (DAP), Batu’s Tian Chua (PKR) and Pokok Sena’s Mahfuz Omar (PAS) argued that the Dewan Rakyat's standing order shows there is no need for members to jot down their names as only their signature is needed. "This is nonsense," Gobind said.

The new Speaker cited several slogans popularised by the opposition pact in his “maiden” speech today. "The last few years, we have heard slogans like 'Ubah', 'Reformasi', 'Transformasi', 'Ini Kalilah', 'Kalau Bukan Sekarang Bila Lagi'.

"You may have your own reasons for such slogans, but for me it contains messages of change for the betterment of the people," he said, reiterating that the country is slowly moving towards a mature democracy as witnessed in the House.

He then called for “ubah” in parliament. "Let us also bring transformation and reformation here in the Dewan Rakyat. If not now, then when?" he said to cheers from the floor.

After the speech, Najib, who is the Pekan MP, headed the list of MPs in the swearing-in ceremony.

What’s in store, other than the election of the speaker, is the election of two deputy speakers and a motion ordering the Inspector-General of Police to provide free passage to members of the House. - June 24,  2013.


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