5 key things to watch in Parliament

Former premier Najib Razak has pleaded not guilty to corruption, and is disqualified from office if he is sentenced to jail.
Former premier Najib Razak has pleaded not guilty to corruption, and is disqualified from office if he is sentenced to jail.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

1. When will the sales and services tax (SST) kick in?

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said the SST will be effective from Sept 1.

The Bill is expected to be tabled and passed during this first sitting. The SST replaces the former 6 per cent goods and services tax, which has been zero-rated since June 1.

2. Who will be Speaker of Parliament?

Former judge Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof is tipped to be Speaker, after Pakatan Harapan (PH) said that to avoid bias, it will nominate a retired judge, instead of an MP, for the post. Another candidate was former judge Mohd Hishamudin Yunus but he said his name was dropped from the list.

3. Will the fake news law go?

Proposals for the Anti-Fake News Act are not ready but could make it to Parliament later this session.

The Communications and Multimedia Ministry is studying if the controversial law, rushed through just before the May election, should be repealed or amended. PH had promised ahead of the election to abolish the law.

4. Who gets in by the back door?

Candidates who did not win a parliamentary seat can still form part of the administration by being appointed senator. The Straits Times understands that those to be appointed senator include Parti Amanah Negara's Datuk Husam Musa, who will have a ministerial post in the Prime Minister's Department, Democratic Action Party's Mr Liew Chin Tong, who will be deputy minister of defence, and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia's Penang chief Marzuki Yahya.

5. Will Najib take his seat?

Former prime minister and Pekan MP Najib Razak is expected to be sworn in with the other MPs.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal breach of trust and corruption, and the trial date has not been fixed. Under Malaysian law, an MP is disqualified from office if he is sentenced to jail for a year or more or fined RM2,000 (S$680) and above.

Trinna Leong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2018, with the headline '5 key things to watch in Parliament'. Print Edition | Subscribe