MEMBERS of Parliament were caught by surprise after Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said was temporarily reappointed Deputy Speaker.
Azalina stepped in to chair the afternoon session after Salim Sharif (BN-Jempol) delivered his speech on the Royal Address in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Lim Lip Eng (PH-Kepong), Hassan Karim (PH-Pasir Gudang) and several MPs got on their feet as they congratulated Azalina for her temporary appointment.
Hassan subsequently took the floor and said he had no problems with Azalina’s appointment, but asked whether it had gone through the proper procedure.
“The question is, were the Standing Orders cited appropriately?” he said.
Sim Tze Tzin (PH-Bayan Baru) said it was unwise to further delay the selection of the new Deputy Speaker.
“I feel disappointed that YB Pengerang resigned earlier. I feel YB is suitable and qualified to be the Deputy Speaker.
“But since you have resigned, the post must be filled as soon as possible,” he said.
He also questioned whether the delay was related to the objection from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia following Umno’s wish to propose a candidate.
“This is an internal problem and must be resolved immediately,” he said.
Azalina then assured the MPs that her appointment was only temporary under Standing Orders 7(3), and said that she was asked by Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun to temporarily return as Deputy Speaker.
Under Standing Orders 7(3), the Dewan Rakyat Speaker may at any time ask a member to take the chair temporarily, without formal communication to the House.
“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.
Standing Orders 7(3) state that if the post of Deputy Speaker is vacant, the House, on being informed by the Secretary at the Table, may, upon the motion of a minister, call on any member present to preside.
One of the two Deputy Speaker posts fell vacant after Azalina resigned on Aug 23, citing a conflict of roles and responsibilities as MP in a ruling coalition while also being a member of the Umno supreme council.
The Johor lawmaker was among 15 Umno lawmakers who withdrew support for the previous administration headed by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
On Tuesday, the vacancy was supposed to have been filled when it was slated as the first item on 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, a deputy speaker under the former Pakatan Harapan government.
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 for the appointment of an additional Deputy Speaker from two to three.