Next Parliament session may be last before polls

(Bernama) – With the Dewan Rakyat convening on Monday for the budget meeting, questions have arisen as to whether it would be the last or penultimate meeting before the government’s mandate runs out on April 28 next year.

Pundits speculate that the 13th general election could be called at the end of November, after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak quipped during a visit to Machang, Kelantan, early this month that he was longing to call the general election.

If that happens, then the Budget meeting of the Dewan Rakyat, the third meeting of the fifth session of the 12th parliament, which ends on November 27, could be the last meeting of the 12th parliament.

If the general election does not take place in November as speculated, then it is likely that the government may go the full term on its mandate, meaning the election would be held early next year.

Election Commission (EC) Deputy Chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said parliament would dissolve automatically if the Yang di-Pertuan Agong did not dissolve it before April 28 next year.

“After that, the EC will have 60 days to hold the general election. The same rule applies for the state legislative assemblies, except Sarawak’s,” he told Bernama. (Sarawak held its state elections only last year.)

The Dewan Rakyat meeting opening on Monday will go on for 34 days up to November 27 and the speculation of a general election will prompt greater focus on Budget 2013 to be tabled by Najib, who is also the finance minister, on Friday.

The people, in general, will be awaiting “good news”, especially from the aspect of the prices of goods.

Not to be left out are the 1.4 million civil servants who are eagerly waiting for an announcement on the improvement to the Malaysian Remuneration System.

Last May, Najib said that Budget 2013 would focus on balanced and quality growth as well as the people’s welfare.

Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee, when contacted by Bernama, said the coming meeting of the Dewan Rakyat would be more lively than usual.

MPs convinced that this meeting would be the last before the dissolution of parliament would make full use of the opportunity to raise issues, he said.

“The Speaker will be often prompted to given them more time for debate,” he added.

Also at the coming meeting, there will be a slight change in the seating of MPs, with Beaufort MP Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin, 57, and Tuaran MP Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing moving from the Barisan Nasional (BN) segment to occupy seats next to the independent MPs.

Last July, Lajim announced that he was resigning from all positions in Umno and the BN and pledged support for the opposition. He did not resign from the party, but the government revoked his post of deputy minister of housing and local government.

Bumburing quit as deputy president of the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko), a BN component party.

It is learnt that Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia would determine the seating arrangement of the two MPs after considering their political affiliation.