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The Dewan Rakyat and The Dewan Negara

A New Malaysia | The New Government
The 14th Dewan Rakyat
The Lower House of Representatives of Parliament

Posted on July 16, 2018 

Today, July 16, 2018, is the inaugural sitting of the new Pakatan Government, the 14th Dewan Rakyat parliamentary sitting.  This is this first time in Malaysian history for a non-BN led government in Parliament.  This first Parliament session of the new Pakatan government and the Dewan Rakyat will sit for 20 days. Malaysia’s Parliament comprises both the Dewan Rakyat (lower house of representative) and the Dewan Negara (upper house of representative). 

 

What is the Dewan Rakyat?
The Dewan Rakyat, the lower house of the Parliament, is the House of Representatives consisting of politicians from federal constituencies known as "Members of Parliament (MPs) who are elected by Malaysians during elections. 

Dewan Rakyat Composition, updated on March 5, 2019

A New Malaysia | The New Government
The Dewan Negara
The Upper House of Representatives of Parliament

Posted on July 19, 2018 


What is The Dewan Negara?
The Dewan Negara, the Senate is the upper house of the Parliament of Malaysia.  There are a total 70 senators of whom 26 are elected by the state legislative assemblies (two senators for each state) and 44 who are appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at the recommendation of the ruling political party.  
The Dewan Negara comprises of nominated appointees who are not necessarily elected through the election process but appointed by the political party that is in power.  This is the first time in Malaysia’s history that the Dewan Negara is not aligned to the ruling political party. 

What is the Function of the Dewan Negara?
The Dewan Negara plays the check and balance role within Parliament.  Members review legislation that has been passed by the lower house, the Dewan Rakyat. Should the Dewan Negara reject the proposed bills, there will be a delay of a maximum of a year before it is sent to The Agong for royal assent.  

Who gets appointed to be a Dewan Negara Senator?
The 13 state legislative assemblies select two Senators each and The PM recommended four from the Federal Territories, two for Kuala Lumpur and one each for Labuan and Putrajaya.The PM also advise The Agong on the appointment of the remaining 40 senators. They have either   "rendered distinguished public service or have achieved distinction in the professions, commerce, industry, agriculture, cultural activities or social service or are representative of racial minorities or are capable of representing the interests of aborigines
 
Majority of Dewan Negara Senators are BN-aligned
Unlike the Dewan Rakyat that is dissolved prior to an election for Malaysians to elect new members, the Dewan Negara is not affected. The Senators continue to hold office and will carry their tenure of service into the next Parliamentary session of the new government.T he Senators serve for a three-year period and may be appointed for two terms only.  The current Dewan Negara Senators are majority BN-aligned senators who were appointed by the BN Government and most of them are either newly appointed or only midway through their tenure of service.  
The composition of the Dewan Negara Senators, PH-led Government and BN-led Opposition 
Posted on July 19, 2018 
As of 12 June 2018, the Dewan Negara has 46 senators, most of them were appointed in the previous parliamentary term. Although Pakatan Harapan (PH) is now the governing party in the Dewan Rakyat, BN Senators command the single largest majority of the upper house with 30 seats.  The other smaller parties that make up the opposition has 13 seats.  That adds up to a total of 43 Senators from the Opposition as opposed to only 27 from the PH Government.
Should the other opposition parties align themselves with BN in voting for legislative changes, it would be an uphill task for the PH government to push them through as they only command 38% of the house while the opposition in total has 61% of the Dewan Negara seats.  This composition of a majority opposition-led Dewan Negara will only change in the coming months when the tenure of the earlier appointments reaches the end of their tenure. Hence, in this new parliamentary sitting, we will have a PH-led government lower house and BN-aligned majority opposition upper house.
As of July 17, 2017 PH has only appointed 8 Senators, leaving another 19 vacancies to be filled. 

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What is the Function of the Dewan Rakyat?
Posted on July 16, 2018 
The Dewan Rakyat drafts and proposes laws known as a 'bill'.  But in order for the proposal to be made a law, it needs to be passed by both the Dewan Rakyat and the Dewan Negara, then it is sent to the King for royal assent.  If the bill is rejected by the Dewan Negara, legalising the proposed bill will be delayed for a maximum of one year before it is sent for royal consent. The Dewan Negara comprises of nominated appointees who are not necessarily elected through the election process but appointed by the political party that is in power.  This is the first time in Malaysia’s history that the Dewan Negara is not aligned to the ruling political party. 
The Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat 
Posted on July 16, 2018 
He has caused much fuss before and at the first PH-led Parliamentary sitting. The reversed role BN-led opposition even staged a walk-out in protest of his appointment. Why?
 
Who is Datuk Mohamad Ariff Yusof
Today, July 16, Datuk Mohamad Ariff Yusof took the oath and was sworn in as the 9th Dewan Rakyat Speaker. Datuk Mohamad Ariff, 69, was a former Court of Appeal judge who retired in 2015.  He is apparently well versed in commercial law, banking, securities, arbitration, constitutional and administrative law.
A Law graduate from University of London (London School of Economics), he started his career as a law lecturer and became an associate professor at the Law Faculty of the University of Malaya.  
In 1986, he ventured into private legal practice as an advocate and solicitor and also became the founding partner of Cheang & Ariff.  In 1993, he left legal practice and became the first Market Supervision Department director of newly formed Securities Commission. Starting 2008, he held several positions in the Malaysian Judiciary, starting as Judicial Commissioner of the High Court in 2008, High Court Judge in 2009 and a judge of the Court of Appeal in 2012.
Between 2012- January 2015 he was also a member of the Judicial Academy and Judicial Appointments Commission.  After retirement, he returned to legal practice as a consultant with Cheang & Ariff. In the past, during the days in private practice, he had represented both PAS, PKR and BN.
The Opposition Protest Walk-out
The opposition opposes that the new government had not followed the rule to submit the name of the speaker 14 days before parliament convened.  Dr Mahathir later came out to clarify that the federal government had submitted its list of candidates for the post of Speaker on July 02, hence no rule was broken by the new government.
 
What are the functions of a Dewan Rakyat Speaker?
The Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat) is the presiding officer of the Dewan Rakyat, the lower house of the Parliament of Malaysia. He is responsible for convening sessions of the Dewan Rakyat, organising debates, and examining the admissibility of petitions, bills and amendments.
The Speaker determines when a sitting of the House should open and close, and may suspend the sitting for a brief period of time if necessary. He is also in charge of ensuring the Constitution and Standing Orders of the House are given due respect, disciplining members of the House, determining who shall have the floor during a sitting, calling a vote, and checking for a quorum when the House meets. He only participates in a vote when there is a tie. The Speaker also has powers some allege to be excessive, such as imposing limits on the posing of supplementary questions during Question Time — an important procedure for the legislature to examine the government's actions, the power to restrict the tabling of questions for Question Time, and the power to amend written copies of speeches made by members of the House before they are given verbally.

Source: Wikipedia

The second session of 14th Parliament sitting will convene on March 11, 2019, according to Yang Di-Pertua Dewan Rakyat.

The first meeting for Dewan Rakyat will begin on March 11, scheduled for 20 days until April 11, while for Dewan Negara is also on March 11 and from April 22 until May 19 scheduled for 11 days.

“With this announcement, the opening ceremony for second term 14th Parliament will be opened by Yang di-Pertuan Agong on March 11 next year at 10.00 am at the Parliament building,” it said.

For the second meeting of Dewan Rakyat, the seating will begin on July 1, until July 18 (12 days), while for Dewan Negara is on July 22 and until July 31 (7 days)

The third meeting for Dewan Rakyat will convene for 36 days on October 7 until December 5, and Dewan Negara is eight days from 9-19 December.

The second meeting of first session of the 14th Parliament sitting will end tomorrow on December 11 after 30 days since October 15 this year.
Source: The Star

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