MPs question Azalina's temporary Deputy Speaker duties, citing possible conflict of interest as PM's adviser

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said's temporary stint as Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker has been questioned by several MPs.

"I am raising the issue following your appointment as adviser to the Prime Minister and (because you) will now follow the advice of the Executive," said Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (PH-Kulim Bandar Baharu).

"This, while having to be impartial as Deputy Speaker.

"Hypothetically speaking, what if legal or human rights questions against the Prime Minister arise in the House while you are presiding?

"Would this put you in an odd position of being in conflict of interest?" he asked.

On Sept 15, Azalina was invited by Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun to temporarily chair the House proceedings.

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.

Azalina, who resigned from the post on Aug 26, has since chaired House proceedings on several occasions.

On Sept 30, the Pengerang MP was appointed as the Prime Minister's law and human rights adviser.

Wong Hon Wai (PH-Bukit Bendera) suggested Azalina recuse herself from chairing House proceedings owing to a conflict of interest.

"The Speaker can choose from over 200 other MPs to sit in the chair," he added.

In her response, Azalina noted that her position was based on Azhar's invitation.

"I received my invitation to chair the proceedings from 2.30pm to 3.30pm.

"Please let me discharge my responsibility and finish up with the ministerial replies," she said.

She advised both MPs to take up the issue with Azhar.

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