PETALING JAYA: Several non-MPs are being considered to replace Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof ahead of the much anticipated parliament sitting.
Among those who are in the running is Election Commission chief Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun.
According to a highly-placed source, the choice of a non-MP was because Perikatan Nasional would require each of its MPs to be on the floor in the event of a no-confidence vote initiated by Pakatan Harapan against Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s leadership.
“Muhyiddin needs every MP he has on the floor. So the Speaker has to be a non-MP, ” said the source.
Others who are also being considered for the post include former Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and another former judge, but the source did not detail the name of the judge.
The candidacy of the Speaker's post so far have been a closely-guarded issue, and the Prime Minister could spring a surprise at the very last minute, said the source.
It was reported that the start of Parliament this July 13 may see attempts by the current Perikatan Nasional administration to "remove" Speaker Mohd Ariff Md Yusof and Deputy Speaker Nga Kor Ming who were appointed under the Pakatan Harapan administration.
It is learnt that two motions were submitted by Prime Minister on Friday (June 26) evening, which are to be tabled in Parliament to remove them.
According to the source, the motion was submitted by Muhyiddin at the 11th hour, just 10 minutes before the 5pm submission deadline.
“It was an ambush, and the Opposition had no time to propose their own candidates, ” said the source.
Speculations have been rife that senior Umno lawmaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said was poised to replace Nga as the Deputy Speaker.
However, the Pengerang MP, who was a former minister in charge of law, told The Star that it was “premature” to respond to talk that she would be made Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker.
“A motion to replace and elect the (Deputy Speaker) will need to be tabled in Parliament, ” she said.
The source also noted that the move to replace Mohamad Ariff and Nga was done in accordance to Article 57 of the Federal Constitution.
Under Article 57 (2) and (2A) of the Federal Constitution, it is stated that the Speaker and his deputy may at any time resign in writing from his position when the House first meets after a general election, when they cease to be a member of the House, of if the House at any time so resolves.
Meanwhile, Tan Sri Rais Yatim and Tan Sri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, who were recently appointed as senators, have been tipped to be appointed as the Senate president after it was left vacant by Tan Sri Vigneswaran.
Article 57(3) of the Federal Constitution states that in the absence of the Speaker, “one of the Deputy Speakers or, if both the Deputy Speakers are absent or if both their offices are vacant, such other member as may be determined by the rules of procedure of the House, shall act as Speaker”.
Parliamentary convention dictates that the Speaker’s position falls vacant in one of the following three circumstances – when Parliament is dissolved for a general election, when the Speaker passes away in office, or when the Speaker resigns.
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