back row l.t.r.: Raja Azraff Bin Raja Azmil (UMNO), Rashad Tajuddin Bin Anwar Tajuddin (INVOKE Malaysia), Michelle Ng Mei Sze (DAP), Nazman Bin Che Iberahim (PAS); front row l.t.r: Kelvin Yii (DAP), Chris Leslie MP, Rt Hon. Baroness Northover, Murnie Hidayah Binti Anuar (PKR)
The Rt Hon. the Baroness Northover and Philip Dunne MP in conversation with the delegation
On 16 October CPA UK hosted six members of Malaysia’s governing coalition parties in Parliament for an introductory visit and meetings with UK MPs. The visit formed part of a young leaders’ exchange programme facilitated by the British High Commission Kuala Lumpur and follows a previous exchange in February 2018. In addition to leaders of party youth wings, the delegation included two of Malaysia’s youngest representatives in state and federal assemblies.
Following an introduction to the UK Parliament and the Westminster select committee system by Clerk of Committees Paul Evans, the delegates had an opportunity to discuss issues of mutual interest with Members of both Houses. Sir William Cash MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Malaysia, asked delegates for their views on the ongoing transition of power following the general election in May 2018, the succession plans for 93-year-old Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad, and the return of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to Parliament.
In a later roundtable discussion chaired by Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP, Chair of the APPG on Youth Affairs, young UK MPs joined the delegates in sharing their experience as young parliamentarians and exploring ways to engage young people in politics. The delegates had experienced several challenges related to their age, such as having to sit in the back of the chamber, being allocated unwinnable “suicide seats” in elections, and countering the distrust of older colleagues and constituents. But both UK and Malaysian participants identified key advantages: Danielle Rowley MP felt younger MPs connected more easily to younger constituents, while Kelvin Yii found members of the public appreciated the less formal approach often taken by younger representatives. Dan Carden MP also highlighted the importance of Parliament reflecting the demographics of the population.