Parliament to resume Sept 13, no confidence vote on the agenda

(MMO) – The first meeting of the fourth session of the 14th Malaysian Parliament will be held on September 13 to October 12, according to a notice shared on social media by several Opposition MPs.

Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil said he received an email from Dewan Rakyat secretary Nizam Mydin Bacha Mydin late last night about the date change.

“11.26pm, on the eve of Merdeka, Dewan Rakyat secretary sends an email informing that the Dewan Rakyat sitting that was supposed to start Sep 6 has been postponed to Sep 13,” the PKR communications director tweeted.

The change was corroborated by Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii who posted a screenshot of the notice on his Twitter account, saying the sitting that was previously scheduled for September 6 has been postponed for another week.

“Don’t see any motion on confidence yet on the agenda,” the DAP man added.

Veteran DAP lawmaker Lim Kit Siang called the absence of a confidence motion on the parliamentary order of business “a glaring omission”.

“In view of the political and constitutional circumstances in the appointment of Ismail Sabri as the ninth Prime Minister of Malaysia, a confidence motion on the new Prime Minister should be the first item of parliamentary business on September 14, 2021,” the Iskandar Puteri MP said in a separate media statement this morning.

Some Opposition MPs have been reviving calls for new Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to table a confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat when it resumes.

Fahmi told Utusan Malaysia yesterday that doing so lays to rest possible questions about the Umno vice-president’s legitimacy to head the government, pointing out that the issue had cast a shadow on the previous prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Ismail Sabri’s predecessor, Muhyiddin, had promised to table a confidence vote on September 7, but resigned from office after conceding he did not have the majority support before he could prove it in Parliament.

Prior to appointing Ismail Sabri as the new PM, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah said the confidence vote should be undertaken in Parliament as it is the proper constitutional thing to do to gain legitimacy.

Not all Opposition MPs have pushed the issue though.

Langkawi MP Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on August 24 that he did not think a confidence vote should be tabled at this time when the country has bigger issues to deal with, namely the Covid-19 crisis.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng also expressed a similar view, calling all lawmakers to focus on steering the country out of the Covid-19 crisis.

Ismail Sabri is currently under self-quarantine after being identified as a Covid-19 close contact, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement yesterday. He had to forego attending the swearing-in ceremony for his Cabinet at the Istana Negara yesterday as well.

According to the new notice, the Dewan Rakyat will sit for 17 days, two days longer than the previous schedule. The 12th Malaysia Plan is also scheduled to be tabled on September 27.