KLANG: Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh, who has been named as Selangor state Speaker, will become the youngest and first woman Speaker of any legislative assembly in the country.
Since the country achieved independence in 1957, all the Speakers in Dewan Negara, Dewan Rakyat and all the state assemblies have been men.
At 34, Yeoh will also be the youngest to chair any of the legislative assemblies in the country.
She will be assisted by Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, who
will be made deputy state Speaker.
Interestingly, both the Subang Jaya and Seri Setia state seats are under the Kelana Jaya parliamentary constituency.
Both of them will be sworn in on June 21, the same date for the swearing-in of all the state assemblymen.
Yeoh and Nik Nazmi, who are both law graduates, are second-term assemblymen who first won their seats in the 2008 general election.
Yeoh’s Twitter account was flooded with congratulatory messages, and she responded by saying: “TQ all for the well wishes! MB’s announcement is a nomination by PR leadership”.
Former Selangor state speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim, who was appointed as state executive councillor yesterday, said a challenging role awaited Yeoh.
“We did not pick her because of her gender. Our consideration was her capabilities,” said Teng.
He said when he was the Speaker, he had assessed Yeoh’s performance in the state assembly as well as at committee meetings.
“She also performed well in Selcat (Selangor Select Committee on Com-petency, Accountability and Transpa-rency). Having a legal background certainly is an advantage,” he said.
Teng said one of the democratic reforms needed to be carried out by the state legislative assembly was to pass the Selangor Legislative Assembly Service Commission Enactment (Selesa) drafted in 2009, which was not passed previously “due to some obstacles”.
The draft defines the function and role of the executive and legislative branches of government in the state, including clearer roles and functions of the legislative assembly through the state assembly, executive council through the mentri besar and state exco members and judiciary under the Federal Constitution.
Asked what the obstacles were, Teng said the previous exco had blocked it.
“Now that I’m in the exco, I will get rid of these obstacles,” he said.