PUTAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - All eyes were on former Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is facing a corruption trial, during his swearing in at the first sitting of Malaysia's 14th Parliament on Monday (July 16).
Najib, who is now seated next to opposition leader Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, took his oath at around 11.45am before Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof was sworn in.
Minutes earlier, he had joined a walkout staged by the opposition over the appointment of the Speaker but returned shortly before his turn. The opposition said the appointment process was not transparent.
The moment Najib exited the Dewan after the swearing-in, he was instantly surrounded by reporters asking for his comments on the day's proceedings.
He said: "I have accepted it. My priority is to serve the people, and I want to be an opposition lawmaker who is constructive.
"I want to play a role so our country's democracy functions to provide meaning to the principle and practice of a healthy democracy."
Najib arrived in Parliament at around 9.45am wearing a black baju Melayu and smiled at reporters before entering the House.
Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor, however, was not seen with him.
Spouses and family members are usually invited to the swearing-in ceremony.
Najib had earlier posted on his Instagram account, a cryptic message that Prophet Muhammad "forgave all, held no grudges, took no revenge and faced the world full of hate with a loving smile".
Although Najib holds no position in Umno's leadership, he was seated next to Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid in the opposition bloc.
On Najib's other side was Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. Like Najib, he also did not contest during the party polls on June 30.
The parliamentary secretariat said the seating arrangement was suggested by Umno.