PETALING JAYA: Former Selangor Assembly Speaker Hannah Yeoh, social activist and lawyer S. Ambiga and former minister Tan Sri Rais Yatim are among the names that have cropped up for the post of Speaker in the new Parliament that will start on July 16 – the first to be held since Pakatan Harapan formed the government.
However, there is no formal discussion yet among the coalition partners on who the Speaker will be.
Ambiga, who was formerly Bersih 2.0 chairman, is said to be the forerunner for the post – due to her being legally trained as well as hints dropped by Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran that the Dewan Rakyat Speaker could be a “woman and who is non-elected”.
While Yeoh’s name for the post came up quite early on, a source said she however might only be considered for the post of Deputy Speaker.
“She is too junior for the post of the Dewan Rakyat Speaker. But she may be considered for the post of deputy as she has experience as a former Speaker of the state Selangor assembly,” said a source.
However, other sources claimed that the names were being bandied about by the various parties in the coalition – namely DAP – in order to push in their candidates.
PKR vice-president Tian Chua said there had yet to be any discussion about the Speaker post at the Pakatan presidential council level nor at the party level.
“I suppose it will be some time closer to when the Parliament session begins,” he said.
Asked if he was being shorlisted for the post, Rais, who recently joined Pribumi after helming, among others, the legal affairs portfolio, as a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said: “I don’t think so. It is just big talk around. It was like this five years ago (after GE13). My name was thrown around and nothing happened. It could happen this way again as well.”
When contacted, Ambiga said it was not true that she was being considered for the post.
Asked if anyone from Pakatan Harapan parties had approached her for the post, she said: “No.”
In an interview with The Star, Rais said, "I can also say to be a Speaker, it is a horrendous job. The Malaysian Parliament is not particularly known to be genteel in its discussion and deliberation."
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