Furore over motion to debate appointment of new Dewan Rakyat Speaker

Parliament of Malaysia crest. - file pic

By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, July 13: There was a fury uproar in the Parliament during the debate on the motion to appoint a new Dewan Rakyat Speaker in the Lower House today.

During the debate, opposition and government backbenchers traded bars over the legitimacy and the need to replace the current Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusoff who was appointed by the former Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government.

During the debate, Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Roslan Hasnon only allowed two members from each side to debate for 10 minutes each.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said, “This is a big issue to be debated.

“This is the first time in the history of Malaysia’s Parliament that the Speaker is being removed without valid reasons.

“He (Mohamad Ariff) did nothing wrong and did not misuse any power.

“Why should he be removed?,” he questioned.

Anwar cited that in the past, the appointment of a new Dewan Rakyat Speaker was only done in extraordinary circumstances whereby either the Speaker was ill or passed away.

He believed Mohamad Ariff has done an excellent job with a good track record and therefore, he should be given the opportunity to stay on as the Speaker of the Lower House.

Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo during the debate cited that the seat for the Speaker is not vacant and therefore there is no point to nominate a new Speaker.

On this, Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, who is from Barisan Nasional (BN), interjected by raising up the issue of the rationale of having the by-election for Port Dickson even though the seat was not vacant to pave the way for Anwar to return back to politics.

The debate continued with more MPs from both sides arguing with each other over the legitimacy of the motion to appoint a new Dewan Rakyat Speaker and his deputy.

When former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was asked to debate on the motion to appoint a new Dewan Rakyat Speaker, he said he was unsure whether it was a motion adding that the candidate should be neutral and not sided with any party or selected by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government or appointed by the prime minister.

Abdul Azeez then interjected again by calling why Dr Mahathir had appointed Latheefa Koya as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner and Attorney-General Tommy Thomas while he was the prime minister during PH time.

Apart from that, Shah Alam MP Khalid Abdul Samad also questioned the validity of the need to replace the Speaker just because there is a new candidate being identified.

He claimed that the PN government wanted to control the Parliament, which is a democracy institution by appointing a candidate of their choice.

Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said the motion to appoint a new Speaker for Dewan Rakyat is constitutional and follows the appropriate procedures.

“The Standing Order was made according to the Constitution and the Constitution is the supreme law,” he said.

He added the process to appoint a new Dewan Rakyat Speaker is legal, noting that when the PN government took power, the new government had the power to appoint a new Dewan Rakyat Speaker of the Lower House.

The motion to replace the Dewan Rakyat Speaker and his deputy was proposed by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and seconded by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin.

After being put to vote, Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker I Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon announced that 111 MP supported the motion to appoint a new Dewan Rakyat Speaker while 109 MP objected.

The motion was passed by a slim majority of two votes although there was one vote which was not accounted for while one MP was absent.-DayakDaily