KUALA LUMPUR: MPs were caught by surprise on the second day of the September Parliament meeting after Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said was temporarily reappointed as Deputy Speaker.
Azalina chaired the afternoon session after Salim Sharif (BN-Jempol) delivered his speech on the Royal Address in Parliament on Wednesday (Sept 15).
Azalina explained that she was temporarily reappointed as Deputy Speaker under Standing Orders 7(3).
Under Parliament Standing Order 7(3), the Dewan Rakyat Speaker may at any time ask a member to take the chair temporarily, without formal communication to the House.
Lim Lip Eng (PH-Kepong) was seen standing up along with Hassan Karim (PH-Pasir Gudang) and several other MPs to congratulate Azalina.
Hassan then took the floor and said he had no problems with Azalina's appointment, but asked if the Standing Orders were cited appropriately.
Sim Tze Tzin (PH-Bayan Baru) said it was unwise to delay further the selection of the new deputy speaker as the meeting would continue until December.
He said the post must be filled as soon as possible and asked if the delay was related to an objection from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia after Umno wanted to propose a candidate.
"This is an internal problem and must be solved immediately," he said.
Azalina then said that her appointment was only temporary under Standing Orders 7(3).
"Maybe it will be a different person next Monday or Tuesday," she quipped.
"Under Standing Orders 7(3), I'm temporarily chairing the current session," she said, before inviting Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji (PH-Raub) to deliver his speech on the Royal Address.
The deputy speaker post fell vacant after Azalina stepped down on Aug 23.
She was among a group of Umno lawmakers who withdrew support for the previous administration under Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
On Tuesday (Sept 14), the vacancy was supposed to have been filled and was slated as the first item on the Parliament Order Papers.
There was an anticipated contest for the vacancy between Umno's Pontian MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan and DAP's Teluk Intan MP Nga Kor Ming.
Both Ahmad and Nga had lobbied for support for the post prior to the Dewan Rakyat meeting.
However, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of Parliament and Law, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar tabled a motion to suspend the appointment of a new deputy speaker.
He said this was to allow amendments to the Federal Constitution to appoint a third deputy speaker, up from two before.