Third Deputy Speaker soon

THE government is looking to create a third Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker position which can be filled by an Opposition Member of Parliament.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar says the move requires an amendment to Article 57(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution to allow for the appointment of deputy speaker to be increased from two to three.

He said although it was not specified where the deputy speakers were being chosen, the government would create a ruling that one of them would be from the Opposition.

“Amendment to the Parliament Standing Orders will also be carried out so that one of the deputy speakers would be from the Opposition.

“The amendments would mean that irrespective of who sits as the government, one of the deputy speakers will be from the Opposition,” he said when tabling the motion to postpone the election of a new Deputy Speaker to fill the vacancy after Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said resigned last month.

The motion was supported by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim and was later passed.

The appointment of a new Deputy Speaker was listed as the first order of business under Parliament’s Order Papers yesterday.

Based on Standing Order 6, the vacancy of the post of Deputy Speaker must be filled at the first convenient sitting of the House.

There was an anticipated contest for the position 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 prior to the start of the Dewan Rakyat meeting on Monday.

Wan Junaidi, who is in charge of Parliament and Law, added that he had discussed the matter with the Attorney General.

“The proposed amendments may be tabled during the current meeting for the first reading with the hope of getting it passed this October,” he said.

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