Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pressure on Opposition to Show Political Maturity When Parliament Begins

On Friday, the full dress rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the first meeting of the first session of the 13th Parliament passed without a hitch.

Now all eyes are on the Opposition next week to see whether they can behave maturely when they take their oaths and their seats in the Dewan Rakyat.

On Tuesday at 10am the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah will deliver his royal address, officially opening the 16-day session.

However his delivery, along with the display from the guard-of-honour by the 1st Battalion Royal Malay Regiment may well prove to be the only moment of decorum on the day, as Pakatan Rakyat continues to threaten unrest.

The simple fact is that since May 5 the number of elected Opposition MPs that have shown any sense of responsibility has been worryingly low.

Between outrageous threats of parliamentary boycott and the on-going Black 505 rallies (set to reach a crescendo Saturday at Padang Merbok), Pakatan Rakyat have left voters with no doubt in their minds on where their priorities lie.

"What else do they plan to do, the opposition?" asked Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein this week.

"You cannot have the cake and eat it too. The public can see that they are not sincere or responsible. All they want is to engage in endless politicking."

With 133 seats held by Barisan Nasional compared to 89 for Pakatan Rakyat, the clamour of voices will be more balanced than ever before.

In an alternate reality such a balance might be construed as a positive sign for Malaysian politics – a moment when democracy can really shine.

But with continued irresponsible and unruly behaviour from certain Pakatan firebrands, the outlook is less rosy. Any fallout from Saturday's rally could well spill over to next week's session, cheapening the rakyat's victory at GE13.

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