Missing plane and ejected MPs among highlights

Missing plane and ejected MPs among highlights
File photo of the Malaysian Parliament building.

It was certainly a month of long-drawn debates and drama.

Proceedings were initially dominated by the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 with lawmakers from both sides engaging in spirited arguments.

The fate of the aircraft and the circumstances surrounding its loss over the southern Indian Ocean is still expected to be the focus of the House when it reconvenes in June.

Opposition MPs, notably Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Gelang Patah), demanded the setting up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry or a Parliamentary Select Committee on MH370.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of Parlia­mentary Affairs, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, said such a move would depend on the recovery of the plane's black box.

The coming June session is also expected to see a flurry of debates on the contentious proposed implementation of syariah law and hudud by PAS in Kelantan.

Talk was rife that PAS MPs were going to table a Private Member's Bill on hudud on the closing day of the Dewan on Thursday.

Not wanting to leave the matter to rest without any response, Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN-Air Hitam), who is MCA deputy president, was present with his party's lawmakers to oppose any such Bill.

Non-Muslim DAP and PKR MPs also complained that there was no prior consultation over the matter.

However, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang (PAS-Marang), who is the party president, disclosed that he would table the Bill only during the June sitting.

The month-long sitting also saw a debate on laws to facilitate the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in April 2015.

Khalid Samad (PAS-Shah Alam), in particular, locked horns with Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan over GST.

The Bill was eventually passed despite Opposition MPs forcing a bloc vote which required MPs to vote on the Bill rather than deciding the issue by a show of hands.

The final tally after two rounds of bloc voting was 119 votes in favour with Pakatan Rakyat garnering 81 votes.

The debate on the Judges' Remuneration (Amendment) Bill 2013 on the final day of proceedings saw two Opposition MPs booted out of the House by Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.

Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) and Mohamed Hanipa Maidin (PAS-Sepang) were ejected after testing Pandikar's patience over House rules.

This led to a walkout by Opposition MPs, who only rejoined after the lunch break when Pandikar invited Azmin and Mohamed back due to it being the last day of the sitting.

The duo were among those involved in the debate on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's (PKR-Permatang Pauh) sodomy and Karpal Singh's (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) sedition convictions.

There was also an attempt to move a motion to censure several judges linked to Anwar's sodomy trial.

(Anwar was sentenced to five years' jail while Karpal was slapped with a RM4,000 (S$1,540) fine.)

Anwar and Karpal's status as MPs were also made clear with Pandikar ruling that they were still MPs pending the outcome of their appeals to the higher courts. The House adjourned sine die.

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