Dewan Negara passes 13 bills at first meeting in fifth session of 13th parliament

KUALA LUMPUR: Dewan Negara at the first meeting in the fifth session of the 13th Parliament which commenced on April 17 and adjourned last night passed 13 Bills.

One of the approved bills is the Supplementary Supply Bill (2016) 2017 to apply for additional expenditure of RM3.08 billion for services in 2016, which was tabled by Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Othman Aziz and passed without debate and without amendment.

Another is the Sexual Offences against Children Bill 2017 tabled by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Sri Azalina Othman Said (pix) after a debate participated by 16 senators.

While winding up the debate on the bill, Azalina said it was the first proposed Act to establish the definition of child pornography and history in the country's legal system .

The bill also recognises children as competent witnesses and will take into account their evidence in court, and among others, accords prominence to offences involving individual sexual communication with a child.

The Labuan Business Activity Tax (Amendment) Bill 2017 (Act 445), Courts (Modes of Commencement of Civil Actions) Bill 2016 and Judges' Remuneration (Amendment) Bill 2017, Weights and Measures Amendment Bill 2017 and Consumer Protection (Amendment) Bill 2017.

After it was passed in the Dewan Rakyat last March 29, the Bankruptcy (Amendment) Bill 2016 which inter alia provides bankruptcy protection for social guarantors.

On the last day of the session, yesterday, five bills were approved including Strategic Trade (Amendment) Bill 2017 which was tabled by International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan to amend the Strategic Trade Act 2010 (Act 708).

It is intended to review the provisions relating to strategic goods trade to be on par with international practice. The amendment is also to facilitate trade by checking the quantum of punishment for offences under Act 708 and to strengthen enforcement.

Education Deputy Minister Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching tabled the Private Higher Education Institutions (Amendment) Bill 2017, aimed to help the Ministry of Education (MOE) to curb and unrecognise the use of false academic titles.

According to Yap, Section 33A (Act 555) contained obligations of the the Institution to maintain a registry introduced by the ministry to strengthen regulation on certificates and academic titles.

The Self-Employment Social Security Bill 2017 was tabled, to provide protection under the Social Security Organisation (Socso) to individuals who are self-employed.

For a start, this new bill will be adopted to provide Socso to self-employed taxi drivers, and 'e-hailing' service providers including Uber and Grabcar, before being extended to other self-employment sectors.

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz tabled the Tourism Tax Bill 2017 to provide for the imposition and collection of tourism tax.

Also approved, the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2017 which among other things expand application of Section 326A of the Penal Code on offences committed against a former spouse, a child, a disabled adult or another family member.

Further getting the green light was the motion moved by Home Deputy Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed for review of subsection 4(5) to extend the maximum 28-day detention under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) for another five years from July 31, 2017.

Meanwhile, Dewan Negara Speaker Datuk Seri S.A.Vigneswaran expressed the senate's appreciation to Datuk Mohd Suhaimi Abdullah whose term ended after the session. — Bernama