Malaysia Dateline

Speaker Azhar’s nomination and appointment both illegal

A small group of members of parliament (MP) led by Kamaruddin Jaffar had lambasted Pakatan Harapan’s MPs’ protests against the illegal manner with which Azhar Harun was appointed as Speaker of Dewan Rakyat during the House meeting on July 13.

Among the grounds of illegality mentioned then were

a) there was no proper notice of proposal for the election of Azhar,

b) Harapan’s attempt to propose its own nominee was rejected for not having the required 14 days’ notice and

c) the proposal of Azhar was not put to a vote.

Picking on the last ground of not putting the proposal to a vote, Kamarudin ridiculed Harapan for its ignorance of Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders 4(3) which stipulates that no voting is required if there is only one nominee.

But in doing so, Kamarudin had conveniently ignored Standing Orders 3 which states that election of a new speaker only arises when there is a vacancy, as well as Standing Orders 4(1) which stipulates the requirement of a 14 days’ notice before the meeting for proposing a new speaker after the position has fallen vacant.

Did Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin complied with the 14 days’ notice when he proposed Azhar?

Most definitely not.

How could he have done that when the vacancy only occurred after the motion to remove existing Speaker Ariff Yusof was passed during the meeting on the very same day of July 13, when an attempt was made to appoint Azhar?

Muhyiddin’s earlier notice was clearly illegal as there was no vacancy at the time of his nomination of Azhar two weeks earlier.

Nomination can only commence from July 13 onwards, and not any earlier.

Without a legal nomination, how could there be a legal appointment?

Similarly, the rejection of Harapan’s attempt to nominate its candidate on July 13 (the day the vacancy occurs) was also illegal.

Now that we are saddled with a speaker illegally appointed, what shall we do next?

Members of parliament should ponder for a proper solution.

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Kim Quek is the author of the banned book “The March to Putrajaya”  and best seller “Where to, Malaysia?”.