KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad suggested on Thursday (Nov 21) that Parliament attendance would be a factor in his decision on which lawmakers may be dropped as part of his planned Cabinet reshuffle.
Tun Dr Mahathir said MPs who do not attend enough sittings of the Dewan Rakyat, or Parliament's Lower House, will get a talking to by the Prime Minister himself.
"We will have to have a talk with the parliamentarians, as they were very anxious to be candidates," said Dr Mahathir after officiating a conference.
"But after being elected, they are behaving as if they are not serious about serving the people," he said.
Dr Mahathir's comments came a day after he announced he was considering a Cabinet reshuffle to address the growing public discontent over his fledgling Pakatan Harapan (PH) government's handling of the country.
He had said that a Cabinet reshuffle was needed after PH suffered a resounding loss in the Tanjung Piai by-election last Saturday.
But he added that he would not be rushed into shaking up the Cabinet, saying his government would first study and consider the achievements and abilities of the current ministers. "After that, then we will discuss the possibility of having a Cabinet reshuffle," he said during a news conference on Wednesday that was broadcast on Facebook.
On Wednesday, only 24 of 222 MPs were present. A quorum requires a minimum of 26 MPs. As a result, the Dewan Rakyat sitting was delayed by the Speaker under the Dewan Rakyat Meeting Standing Order Number 13 (1).
Another sitting was also delayed last month due to a lack of quorum.
Dr Mahathir said if non-attendance was a way for MPs to protest against his leadership, there were other ways to do so.
"I am open to criticism," said Dr Mahathir, who was flanked by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
"If you don't like me, then say so openly, " he told reporters.
He said that he agreed with Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Anwar Ibrahim that anyone aspiring to be prime minister should do it the right way.
"I agree with him (Anwar) - must be PM the right way, " said Dr Mahathir.
Datuk Seri Anwar said on Wednesday that those who want to be prime minister should not hold meetings in houses and should get a consensus of PH parties - in an apparent reference to a meeting his party deputy Azmin Ali had with 22 opposition Umno MPs at his house on Monday.