PETALING JAYA: The delay in the appointment of a new Deputy Speaker is believed to be due to the disagreement by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia MPs with Umno’s choice of fielding Pontian MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan for the post.
“Yes,” said a Bersatu MP who wanted to remain anonymous, when asked on the matter through WhatsApp.
According to a Sinar Harian report, this confirmed claims by Umno supreme council member Datuk Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi who had accused Bersatu MPs of refusing to support Ahmad for the Deputy Speaker’s post.
The unnamed Bersatu MP also said the party’s decision not to support Ahmad as Deputy Speaker was because Bersatu wants the candidate as a person who isn’t facing any charges in court.
The MP declined to say whether Bersatu has named its choice for the post.
“You have to ask Perikatan Nasional secretary (Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin),” he added.
Perikatan chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had stated terms of support to the new government led by Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Among them were ensuring that its leadership does not consist of anyone facing ongoing court cases.
Meanwhile, another anonymous Bersatu MP said that the party has finalised its stand over the matter.
The MP also hopes the matter can be resolved through discussions among the government’s highest leadership in order to avoid an unwanted incident that could threaten the stability of the government.
“Bersatu’s stance is that Umno must choose a candidate who is not facing court cases and has integrity. We also hope that the candidate will have no issues in dealing with Bersatu MPs themselves.
“This depends on Umno because the election of a Deputy Speaker is important to ensure Parliament affairs run smoothly.”
“I propose the matter to be discussed immediately by the government’s highest leadership.”
However, the MP also said the matter shouldn’t be prolonged as the post might fall to an Opposition member if government backbenchers continue to disagree.
“We know the Opposition fielded Teluk Intan MP Nga Kor Ming.
Imagine how hard it is for the government to keep parliamentary proceedings under control if their representative was chosen as the new Deputy Speaker.
“I have no problems with Ahmad’s candidacy, and because the Deputy Speaker position is Umno’s quota,” the MP said.
Ahmad, who is facing money-laundering charges and allegedly providing false statements to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), will go to trial in June next year.
Last Tuesday, the motion to elect a new Deputy Speaker was postponed and Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun explained that Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said is temporarily chairing the proceedings until a new deputy is elected when Budget 2022 is tabled soon.
Azalina said she will be temporarily chairing Parliamentary meetings under Standing Order 7(3) until a new Deputy Speaker is elected.
Standing Order 7(3) states that if the post of Deputy Speaker is vacant, the House, upon being informed by the Secretary, may upon the motion of a minister, call upon any member present to preside.
The post of Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker fell vacant on Aug 23 after Azalina resigned from the post.
The vacancy was supposed to have been filled and was slated as the first item on Parliament Order Papers.
Both Umno’s Ahmad and DAP’s Nga had lobbied for support for the post prior to the start of the Dewan Rakyat meeting on Monday (Sept 13).
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 Speaker.
He said this is to allow amendments to the Federal Constitution for the appointment of an additional Deputy Speaker from two to three.