Hornbill Unleashed

April 9, 2017

Making laws after bedtime: When Parliament continued after midnight

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

On Thursday night, Parliament discussions carried on into the wee hours of the morning. ― File picThis week’s Parliament meeting that ended slightly after 5am on April 7 may have struck a record as the longest ever in the country, lasting nearly 20 hours straight.

On Thursday night, the Dewan Rakyat’s clock was stopped at 11.59pm, but discussions carried on into the wee hours of the morning after Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia invoked Standing Order 90 (2) to suspend Standing Order 12 (3) allowing the House can stop the clock to allow debates to go on indefinitely past midnight.

This allowed the House to debate and pass five government Bills, including the Tourism Tax Bill 2017 tabled by Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.

This past week also saw PAS president and Marang MP Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang Bill finally tabling his controversial private member’s Bill to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 after being delayed twice last year, though Dewan Rakyat Speaker later deferred debate to the next sitting scheduled for July.

But there have been other marathon parliamentary meetings that have carried on past the “Cinderella hour”. Here are a few instances:

April 10, 2015

Before this, the previous record went to the 13th Parliament sitting two years ago when the House was adjourned at 4.25am.

Surpassing the previous record of 3.21am, the 20-day long sitting saw 12 Bills and amendments for six Bills approved.

Among the new laws passed in that meeting were the Technologists and Technicians Bill 2014; Prevention of Terrorism Bill (POTA) 2015; and the Special Measures Against Terrorism in Foreign Countries Bill 2015.

April 6, 2015

MPs were locked in a lengthy debate that lasted over 12 hours debating just the government’s controversial anti-terror legislation, POTA on this day.

The POTA Bill was introduced in a bid to combat terror threats and prevent Malaysians from supporting militant activities, which has been on the upward trend with youths and even highly-trained professionals heading abroad to join or lend their expertise to groups like the Islamic State and its affiliates around the world.

Despite Opposition MPs vehemently objecting to the Bill that allows for detention without trial, POTA was passed at 2am with a final vote tally of 79 in favour and 60 opposed.

October 3, 2013

Debates for the Prevention of Crime (Amendment and Extension) 2013 Bill took the Dewan Rakyat past midnight on this day when debate ended at 12.50am after the proposed law was passed.

The amendments sought to lock up hardcore criminals for up to two years without taking them to court to be tried.

Like POTA, this Bill also received strong objections from the Opposition MPs, but it was passed through a voice majority by the ruling Barisan Nasional side.

April 4, 2015

Long hours and an excessive workload coupled with stress caused Opposition lawmaker Hanipa Maidin, then in PAS, collapse in the Dewan Rakyat in the middle of debates.

Although the previous day’s meeting had not crossed midnight, it reportedly ended “late”.

Hanipa had to be wheeled out and rushed to the hospital after he lost consciousness and foamed at the mouth while inside the legislative House.

The Sepang MP was diagnosed with brain haemorrhage and was operated on the same night. He has since recuperated and is back in Parliament as a central committee member of Parti Amanah Negara, a PAS splinter party formed in September 2015.

Source : @ Malay Mail Online


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