KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 — The third Parliament sitting of the year begins this morning, with Malaysians left guessing on whether Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob will be calling for its early dissolution to make way for the 15th general election (GE15).
For months, Ismail Sabri had been under pressure from fellow Umno leaders to hold the election as early as possible, and despite his initial reluctance, on September 17 he announced that the nation is “very close” to the national polls.
Adding to the speculations is that this parliamentary sitting — the Third Meeting Of The Fifth Session Of the 14th Parliament was moved forward by more than three weeks.
It was previously scheduled to start on October 26.
Now, Dewan Rakyat will end its meeting on November 29 after 32 days; while Dewan Negara is scheduled to meet for 11 days, from November 21 to December 7.
Speculation is also rife that Parliament will be dissolved before the upcoming Budget 2023 can be fully passed through, which would then likely leave the country without allocations for government spending for the first few months of 2023.
The budget, officially known as the Supply (Budget) Bill 2023, is set to be debated at the policy level from October 11 to October 26, then at the committee level from November 2 to 23.
It is themed “Strengthening Recovery, Facilitating Reforms Towards Sustainable Socio-Economic Resilience of Keluarga Malaysia”.
Aside from this, several other key Bills are expected to get their time in the limelight during this sitting.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin announced last week that the anti-stalking Bill will be among the first proposed laws to be tabled during next month’s Parliamentary sitting.
The Bill, which seeks to make both virtual and physical stalking a criminal offense, is in its second reading and will require the tabling of the Penal Code (Amendment) Act 2022 and the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) (No.2) 2022.
Political funding Bill
A Political funding Bill to regulate how politicians and their parties raise funds for their political activities, is also set to be tabled, as announced by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar on September 24.
The first reading is expected to take place in early November, with the second reading later that month.
According to Wan Junaidi, the Bill was still being drafted and the government would seek feedback from both government and Opposition MPs.
The proposed law has been in the works since at least 2019, when the then government submitted a proposed framework to Parliament although it was not passed at the time.
Control of tobacco products and smoking Bill
In his new year’s address to the Health Ministry on January 15, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin revealed plans to outlaw smoking for those born after a certain time, dubbing the move “a generational endgame”.
Since then, the control of tobacco products and smoking Bill was formed seeking to ban the selling and using of smoking products, including vape products, to and for anyone born in 2007 or onwards.
It went through two readings during the previous Parliamentary sitting in July and August but was ultimately sent for review under the parliamentary special select committee (PSSC) responsible for the proposed legislation.
After incorporating amendments as suggested by the PSSC, the Bill is expected to be tabled again this week.
Trade unions (Amendment) Bill and others
Another legislation to be expected includes the Trade unions (Amendment) Bill 2022, which seeks to allow more than one union to be formed in a single workplace, among other amendments.
Other than this there will also likely be tablings of the Renewable Energy (Amendment) Bill 2022, Sustainable Energy Development Authority (Amendment) Bill 2022 and the Printing of Qur’anic Texts (Amendment) Bill 2022.