Tussle over Speaker position


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Holding court: Ngeh (in black suit) speaking to Pakatan members after the state assembly meeting. — RONNIE CHIN/The Star

IPOH: An argument broke out briefly between Perikatan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan assemblymen over the state assembly Speaker’s position.

This was before Umno’s Kamunting assemblyman Mohammad Zahir Abdul Khalid was elected as the new Perak Speaker.

Mohammad Zahir, a former state executive council member, was nominated by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu during the one-day state assembly meeting yesterday.

His nomination was supported by Kota Tampan assemblyman Datuk Saarani Mohamad, who then nominated Kubu Gajah assemblyman Khalil Yahaya of PAS as Deputy Speaker.

Khalil’s appointment was backed by Gunung Semanggol assemblyman Razman Zakaria.

Their appointments were supported by 32 assemblymen from Perikatan Nasional and three Independent assemblymen.

It was made after Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham resigned as the state Speaker.

Ngeh managed to calm down the assemblymen, urging everyone to maintain decorum to allow the appointment process to be conducted according to the rule of law.

He announced his resignation then and adjourned the meeting sine die before walking out of the hall with other Pakatan state assemblymen.

When met outside the state secretariat building, Ngeh said some men had tried to remove him from the hall.

“They were men that I don’t recognise but I fought back and made a stand, ” said the Sitiawan assemblyman.

“I took a pledge as the state Speaker to defend the state assembly with my life as it is an important institution that voices the people’s needs.”

In a separate press conference, Faizal said he had used the Standing Order to move a motion for Ngeh to vacate the Speaker’s Chair to expedite the sitting.

“Some debates broke out between Perikatan and Pakatan state assemblymen but no major untoward incidents occurred.

“I can understand their disappointment due to the change in the state government, ” he said.

“We are just a little disappointed with them because they did not wait until the sitting was adjourned officially.”

The meeting was held for the first time since Perak Perikatan, which consists of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, Umno and PAS, took over as the state government in March, following the collapse of the Pakatan government.

Faizal was reappointed on March 13 while seven state assemblymen were sworn in as state exco members on March 31.

Faizal also said he had submitted a notice of a motion to Ngeh to remove him as the State Speaker earlier this month.

“I was told that Ngeh did not inform the state assembly secretary about the motion, which was wrong, ” he said.

“The state assembly secretary needs to be informed so that the motion can be registered before it can be brought up during the sitting, ” he added.

Faizal said the state government would continue to serve the people in all constituencies.

“All of Perak is our responsibility, not just in areas represented by us. We will also focus on areas represented by Pakatan’s assemblymen, ” he said.

On the appointment of the three new state exco members, Faizal said their respective portfolios had yet to be decided.

“I will meet with them, get advice from Saarani and Razman before deciding on it, ” he said, adding that there could be a possibility of a portfolio reshuffle.

The three newly appointed exco members, all from Umno, are Bota assemblyman Khairul Shahril Mohamed, Ahmad Saidi Mohamad Daud (Changkat Jering) and Mohd Zolkafly Harun (Lintang).

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