KUALA LUMPUR (April 3, 2008): Members of the 12th Parliament had an orientation today to familiarise themselves with the law-making proceedings in the Dewan Rakyat.
It was the first time that such an orientation has been held as nearly half of the MPs are first-timers.
All the 136 backbenchers and opposition MPs – the Cabinet members were not included – were briefed for over two hours about their rights and benefits as MPs.
A photo session was also held before the briefing.
The election results have created several firsts in the Dewan Rakyat. It will have:
>> the largest number of first-time MPs – 99 or 45% of the total number of MPs.
>> the largest number of opposition members – 82 of the 222 MPs are from opposition parties.
>> the first mother-and-daughter team of MPs – Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR-Permatang Pauh) and Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Pantai Dalam).
>> the first woman Opposition Leader – Wan Azizah.
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib said Barisan Nasional (BN) has also set a record as the ruling coalition for more than 50 years.
In a press conference after the briefing, he said he would accept the offer to be the Speaker again should he be nominated and re-elected. “But it’s up to the MPs to pick their Speaker and Deputy Speaker,” he said.
Ramli said all nominations for the posts of Speaker and Deputy Speaker should be submitted to Parliament two weeks before the session on April 28.
On whether he expected more heated debates in the House, Ramli quipped: “I really don’t know what will happen.”
He advised the MPs to be more polite when taking part in the debates.
“They should avoid making sexist remarks or use words that hurt the feeling of others,” he said.
Earlier, Ramli received a courtesy call from Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and other DAP leaders and MPs.
Wan Azizah, when met after the briefing, said Pakatan Rakyat (PR) will have its first secretariat meeting on Monday (April 7).
It would discuss, among others, the coalition’s candidates for Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
However, she declined to name the candidates.
This article is taken from the news Web Portal of The Sun newspaper, Sun2Surf