THE first meeting of the sixth term of the 13th sitting of Parliament will begin on Monday, with the election issue expected to dominate the Dewan Rakyat, scheduled for 20 days until April 5.
The conference, which will be opened by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V, will attract the general public as it is said to be the last session before Parliament is dissolved to make way for the 14th general election (GE14), which many predict will be held very soon.
This conference is also remarkable for having lasted six terms, compared to the usual five, before being dissolved for GE14.
However, it does not violate any regulations, and the 13th Parliament will only be dissolved automatically when the Barisan Nasional-led government’s five-year mandate expires on June 24.
The “Review of the Boundaries of Parliamentary and State Election Divisions for Peninsular and Sabah” is expected to be among the key agendas that will warm up this session.
Although it is not certain the proposal will be submitted at this meeting, the public hearings on protests over the second recommendation of the redelineation of the electoral divisions in Selangor, which ended yesterday, became a major indication the proposal on delineation would be resolved prior to the dissolution of Parliament.
The Federal Constitution allows for delineations for a minimum of every eight years or in the event of the creation of a new territory or the addition/reduction of the number of seats.
The last time the re-delineation of the constituency was made was in 2003.
Previous news reports said the delineation of Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah was almost complete, except in Selangor, which was still in the second stage of the recommendation.
The presentation of the motion to Parliament can only be implemented on the condition that the Election Commission (EC) has completed the objection hearing session for delineations in Selangor.
However, constitutional expert Associate Professor Dr Shamrahayu Abd Aziz said that although the sitting of Dewan Rakyat would last until April 5, based on existing provisions, Parliament could be dissolved at any time with the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, even during the session.
According to her, the government is using the sixth term meeting to resolve its affairs, including the redelineation proposal, and it may dissolve Parliament as soon as the matter is resolved.
“The sixth term of the Dewan Rakyat meeting is a first in the history of Parliament, as the general practice has been to dissolve Parliament for the general election after the fifth term.
“However, this is not strange because the government may want to resolve its affairs or to prepare all MPs before the general election,” she said.
Prior to this, Dewan Rakyat Secretary Roosme Hamzah said in a recent statement that the Dewan Rakyat sitting would begin with the opening ceremony opened by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who would deliver a speech.
The next sitting will debate the Royal Address for two weeks before each relevant ministry winds up the debate on the third week.
“The fourth and fifth weeks are debates for other government businesses and bills,” she said, saying that the Dewan Rakyat would probably also discuss a bill on false news.
The first meeting and first term of the 13th Parliament was held on June 24, 2013, shortly after the 13th general election. Barisan Nasional commenced the session with 133 Members of Parliament, compared with the opposition, DAP, PKR, and PAS, who formed Pakatan Rakyat with 89 MPs.
After five years with various changes in the country’s political landscape, BN’s parliamentary seats have diminished to 132, while the opposition has split into Pakatan Harapan and the third block, PAS, with 87 seats, with three more seats held by Independent representatives.
If no announcement is made, Parliament will dissolve by itself on June 24, and GE14 should be held within 60 days after that.