Azhar: I changed my mind


Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO, RAHIMY RAHIM and TARRENCE TAN

DEWAN Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun says he rescinded the invitation for the Teluk Intan MP to temporarily preside over Monday’s evening sitting on his own accord, without any pressure from any party.

He said the proceeding was also valid since it was chaired by him.

Explaining the matter, Azhar said he sent the letter inviting Nga Kor Ming to preside over and thanked him since he was prepared to take the request into consideration.

“However, I changed my mind at the last minute. I was actually not pushed or pressured by anyone to change my mind, I just used my power in changing my mind,” he said when presiding the sitting before the debate session on the motion of thanks to the Royal Address yesterday.

The matter was raised by Khoo Poay Tiong (PH-Kota Melaka) during Question Time who asked for an explanation on an allegation that there was a senior minister interfering in the affairs of the Dewan Rakyat Speaker and wanted the senior minister to be named.

On Monday, a report by Sin Chew Daily claimed that one of the four senior ministers had stepped in and prevented Nga from temporarily chairing the sitting.

Though the report did not name the senior minister, Opposition MPs had raised the issue where Gobind Singn Deo (PH-Puchong) challenged International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali to confirm whether he was among the Senior Ministers blocking Nga.

Earlier, Gobind said he was informed through a letter that the Speaker had invited Nga, who is a former deputy speaker, to temporarily chair the sitting on Monday between 2.30pm and 4pm under Standing Order 7 (3).

Last week, Pengerang MP and former deputy speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said was invited to temporarily chair the proceedings after the lunch break.

Azhar said based on Article 7 (3) of the Standing Orders, it was in his power to request a member to take the chair temporarily, without formal communication to the House.

“The sittings are valid because I returned to preside over them,” he said.

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