3 former premiers to attend Malaysia's Parliament for the first time

Former prime ministers (clockwise from left) Muhyiddin Yassin, Najib Razak and Mahathir Mohamad will be in attendance.
Former prime ministers (clockwise from left) Muhyiddin Yassin, Najib Razak and Mahathir Mohamad will be in attendance.PHOTOS: REUTERS, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The first sitting of Malaysia's fourth session of the 14th Parliament on Monday (Sept 13) will see the attendance of three former prime ministers for the first time.

Pagoh MP Muhyiddin Yassin will be seated in Block D next to Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) president Hadi Awang, who will be beside Pekan MP Najib Razak.

Langkawi MP Mahathir Mohamad will be seated in Block E next to his son, Jerlun MP Muhkriz Mahathir, who will be beside Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

The King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, is scheduled to officiate the start of the parliamentary meeting which will take place for 17 days till Oct 12.

The start of the meeting comes three days after the 62nd anniversary of Parliament and is set to focus on issues relating to the country's recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Besides debates on the Royal Address, lawmakers will also debate the proposed 12th Malaysia Plan.

Meanwhile, the Dewan Rakyat (Lower House) is expected to see an "election" on Tuesday when the government and opposition MPs decide on the new Deputy Speaker.

The two contenders for the post are Pontian Umno MP Ahmad Maslan and Teluk Intan Democratic Action Party MP Nga Kor Ming.

Both men have highlighted their own plans on parliamentary reforms should they get the post.

"This is the first time as far as I know that lobbying has emerged for the post.

"Usually, the names of candidates are proposed on the day of the Dewan Rakyat sitting itself and a vote on this will be decided on," said political analyst Sivamurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia.

He said that such a contest could result in a shouting match among the MPs.

"Instead, the government and Pakatan Harapan MPs could negotiate to avoid the matter being put to a vote in the House.

"It will be better if they can negotiate so that they will be able to work towards parliamentary reforms together," he said.

He added that this could either mean creating a third deputy speaker's post or requesting Deputy Speaker Rashid Hasnon step aside to allow both Mr Ahmad and Mr Nga to assume the vacancies.

Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said resigned as Deputy Speaker on Aug 23.

Last Friday, both Mr Ahmad and Mr Nga issued their proposed parliamentary reforms if elected.

Mr Ahmad is suggesting a third seat to be created for the post to be held by the opposition while another is held by an MP from either Sabah or Sarawak.

Another political analyst, Professor Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmod of the International Islamic University, said that a vote was likely to see Mr Ahmad winning due to Perikatan Nasional's 114 majority in the 220-member House.

Although there may have been calls for MPs to vote on the principles of neutrality and conscience, he said this was unlikely to happen.

"Will the respective party whips allow their members to vote against party lines? Even PAS has pledged their support for Ahmad," he added.

He also said that the offer of reforms by the government and consensus with the opposition could have a bearing on the outcome of who will become the Deputy Speaker on Tuesday.

It is learnt that Perikatan Nasional held a pre-council meeting yesterday to work out a deal with the Opposition towards working together for reforms proposed by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.