Thursday, 14 June 2018 | MYT 12:00 AM
Lawmakers to swap seats
PETALING JAYA: Lawmakers will swap seats in the Dewan Rakyat when the first session of the 14th Parliament takes off next month following a reversal of roles after the May 9 polls.
The august House is set to witness a milestone on July 16 when 116 Pakatan Harapan MPs take their seats as the ruling government on the right of the Dewan while 57 Barisan Nasional MPs will be on the left as the Opposition.
The “crossover” came about after Pakatan’s stunning performance in the 14th General Election ended Barisan’s 61-year rule as the Federal Government.
Dewan secretary Datuk Roosme Hamzah said that notice of the start of Parliament will be sent out to the lawmakers after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri break.
“The seating plan of the House will be based on precedence.
“Lawmakers from the ruling government will sit on the right of the Speaker while Opposition MPs on the left,” she said when contacted.
She said the seating positions have yet to be finalised owing to Tuesday’s development in Sarawak where 19 lawmakers pulled out of Barisan to form Gabungan Parti Sarawak, which will remain with the Opposition.
Also to be decided is the seating of 18 MPs from PAS, nine from the Pakatan-friendly Parti Warisan Sabah and Upko, and three Independents of Sabah’s proposed Gabungan Bersatu.
Roosme said the MPs will already be seated at their respective places on the day Parliament convenes and elects a new Speaker before taking their oath.
Former deputy speaker Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the new arrangement will see Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad seated on the right of the Speaker.
“Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail will be next to Dr Mahathir as his deputy, followed by others from Pakatan based on seniority in the executive or respective parties.”
He added that MPs who are not with Pakatan or Barisan will be seated among themselves as a bloc in the middle.
Former deputy speaker Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said the respective parties will nominate names for the Speaker’s post two weeks before Parliament meets.
He noted that it is usual for a non-elected person to be chosen as Speaker while his two deputies must be MPs.