Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad denied claims that the letter had been signed much later but was backdated to indicate July 2, the last day of the 14-day deadline to propose names for Speaker.
“It was not backdated. In fact it was prepared earlier, so when I signed, I put the date,” he told reporters after the swearing-in of the Speaker and MPs in Parliament on Monday.
On the walkout staged by Barisan Nasional and PAS MPs when Mohamad Ariff was sworn in as Speaker, Dr Mahathir said that was merely a drama (sandiwara).
“That is sandiwara. It’s just playing things. For the first time, the ex-prime minister walked out so now he knows what it means when people walked out before,” he said.
Asked about the choice of a non-MP as a Speaker, Dr Mahathir said while the Pakatan Harapan manifesto had stated that the Speaker should be an MP, this was merely a guideline and not the law.
“Please remember the manifesto isn’t a bible, it is guidance. Sometimes we can do things, sometimes we find that we can’t, so we have to be very practical minded.
“I think the public would like to have somebody who isn’t related to any party (in Dewan Rakyat),” he said.
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