House Speaker likely to stay on

PETALING JAYA: The fate of Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof (pic) remains in question following political manoeuvring ahead of the Dewan Rakyat’s historic one-day meeting on May 18.

The former Court of Appeal judge who was appointed to the role by Pakatan Harapan has rejected a motion by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for him to remain as Speaker.

Political analysts, however, are confident he will stay on at least until the next longer meeting in July.

International Islamic University Malaysia law professor and constitutional expert Assoc Prof Dr Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz noted that the Speaker is appointed by the House after a motion proposing a candidate is tabled and accepted by MPs.

“There are no provisions under the Federal Constitution or Parliament’s Standing Orders for the removal of the Speaker.

“He cannot be removed unless he voluntarily resigns or a motion is tabled to replace him, and this is unlikely to happen on May 18, ” she said yesterday.

Shamrahayu also said that any move to replace the Speaker must be by way of a motion, which requires 14 days’ notice.

“The 14-day notice period has passed and any attempt to table a motion to replace him can only be made during the July sitting.

“For now, he can carry on with his duties, and from his recent rulings, he has shown that his decisions are based on the rule of law, ” she said.

She also noted that Dr Mahathir’s proposed motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, which was accepted by Mohamad Ariff, would likely not be tabled on May 18.

“The meeting on May 18 will be opened by the King. Focus will be given to the royal address and on dealing with Covid-19, ” Shamrahayu said.

Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian from the School of Social Sciences at Universiti Sains Malaysia said Mohamad Ariff had shown that he was “going by the book” when making decisions.

“To replace him at this juncture might send a wrong signal to the public amid talk of Perikatan Nasional wanting to replace him, ” he said.

“I think Perikatan will deal with Tun Dr Mahathir’s motion when the day comes in July.

“As for now, the focus is very much on the Covid-19 crisis and they won’t want to mix the crisis with internal party politics, ” he said.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia politics and governance research group head Dr Mazlan Ali said Mohamad Ariff had bolstered his image as being fair and impartial when he rejected Dr Mahathir’s motion for him remain as Speaker until Parliament is dissolved.

He said this would create a perception among opposition and government lawmakers that the Speaker is a person who upholds the law.

Meanwhile, Mohamad Ariff had also rejected a proposal by Semporna MP Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal for a motion of confidence to be tabled in support of Dr Mahathir.

When contacted, Mohamad Ariff declined to comment.

On Friday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said the Dewan Rakyat would sit for a day on May 18 and convene again on July 13 for 15 days.

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