Malay Parliament reconvenes, COVID-19 bill may be tabled

Malaysia’s lower house of Parliament reconvened on Monday for its third session of the year as the government led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is expected to table bills on economic recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

This session will last 25 days till August 27 and will also see several bills being tabled, including the COVID-19 Temporary Measures Bill to minimize the economic, social and industrial impact of the outbreak, reports Xinhua news agency.

Amendments to the country’s road and transportation laws involving those driving under the influence of alcohol, are also expected to be tabled, after a rise in fatalities caused by drink-driving.

Two important finance-related supplementary supply bills are also expected to be presented.

Muhyiddin’s ruling coalition is expected to move a motion to change the speaker and deputy speaker of the lower house of the Parliament, which would serve as a potential test of the coalition’s majority at the house, after he became the Prime Minister in March following the abrupt resignation of his predecessor Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathir has also sought to table a motion of non-confidence against Muhyiddin during the session.

Muhyiddin leads the Bersatu party but the anchor party in his coalition is the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), which dominated Malaysian government for 61 years before being swept out of power in the 2018 general election, BenarNews, an online news service, said in a report.

UMNO holds 39 seats in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) ruling bloc, which, according to the latest information posted on Parliament’s website, controls 114 seats in the 222-seat chamber.

UMNO has separately formed an alliance with the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), another member of the ruling bloc. The two-party alliance is known as Muafakat Nasional.

According to a report by the Nikkei Asian Review last month, sources close to the Prime Minister said he was eyeing snap polls with the intention to “straighten the messy political scene by seeking a fresh five-year mandate from the people”.