MPs dive into heated debates amidst Anwar's absence

It was a busy and chaotic start to the third session of the 13th Parliament as lawmakers wasted no time in engaging in heated debates over several issues.

Noticeably absent was Op­­position Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is serving a five-year jail term for sodomy.

His attempts to attend the Parliament as Permatang Pauh MP and Opposition Leader was unsuccessful.

Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers donned black at the opening of the Parliament on Monday while a small group held a "head-shaving" protest the following day outside Parliament.

This prompted Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to request the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) not to allow head-shaving protests to "obstruct the entrance and exits of Parliament".

Datuk Seri Azalina Othman (BN-Penggerang) took a swipe at Nurul Izzah (PKR-Lenbah Pantai) who "read out" Anwar's message when debating the motion of thanks on the Agong's Royal Address.

She told Nurul to advise her father not to get involved in inappropriate activities and to quit politics.

Selangor's continued water woes also saw a war of words between its Mentri Besar Azmin Ali and Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

Both sides accused each other of stalling the state's RM9.6billion (S$3.6 billion) water deal following Azmin's announcement that the state was terminating the agreement signed by his predecessor.

Former Selangor MB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, who participated in the debate for the first time as Bandar Tun Razak MP, reminded Azmin that Selangorians should not pay more than what was agreed with the Federal Gov­ernment for the takeover.

Khalid also suggested that Azmin carry out a transparent audit on the stakeholders under the deal to ensure that it was graft-free.

The threat of extremism was also raised, particularly that of the Islamic State terror group previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which shares the same acronym as the Institute for Strategic and International Studies Malaysia (ISIS).

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim told Datuk Norah Abd Rahman (BN-Tanjong Manis) that there were no plans to change the name of the nation's well known think tank.

The 1MDB issue was another hot topic when it was raised by Mohd Fasiah Mohd Fakeh (BN-Sabak Bernam), with Rafizi Ramli (PKR-Pandan) and Tony Pua (DAP-Petaling Jaya Utara), joining the debate.

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Muhd Hanadzlah fended off allegations, saying that plans were underway to consolidate and rationalise 1MDB.

Meanwhile, a motion by Datuk Mahfuz Omar (PAS - Pokok Sena) for the formation of a Royal Commission of Inquiry on 1MDB was rejected.

Deputy Speaker Datuk Ismail Mohamed Said reminded Mahfuz that the Parliament's Public Accounts Committee had been tasked to probe 1MDB.