Malaysia likely set precedent as first country to remove a sitting parliamentary Speaker, says Mohamad Ariff

In a press conference today, the former Federal Court judge said that Trinidad and Tobago is the only nation known to have removed its parliamentary Speaker, but on the grounds of corruption. — Picture by Hari Anggara
In a press conference today, the former Federal Court judge said that Trinidad and Tobago is the only nation known to have removed its parliamentary Speaker, but on the grounds of corruption. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — Malaysia is now perhaps the world’s only nation to kick out a sitting Speaker of Parliament, former Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof said.

In a press conference today, the former Court of Appeal judge said that Trinidad and Tobago is the only nation known to have removed its parliamentary Speaker, but on the grounds of corruption.

“In a normal situation, after a general election, the government that wins that general election would nominate someone to become the Speaker. What happened now is extraordinary, and I do not know if there are any other nations except Trinidad and Tobago which did something like this.

“Trinidad and Tobago removed their Speaker in the 1990s, because the Speaker was involved in corruption. There is no other example. In the United Kingdom, in the House of Commons for 800 years, never was a Speaker kicked out before Parliament was dissolved. This should be the system practised by Commonwealth nations,” he said.

Mohamad Ariff said that although what happened to him is extraordinary, he noted that a decision had to be made either way.

“But for me, it’s not that proper, unless we want to become like Trinidad and Tobago, go ahead.

“In a way, yes,” he said, when asked if the Dewan Rakyat decision today had set a precedent for the world.

“Well, I don’t know if this is a good precedent, but certainly, this is something extraordinary. They should have waited for Parliament to dissolve,” he added.

Mohamad Ariff pointed out that a Speaker should not be seen as siding with the government of the day, but represent the institution he is tasked to lead.

“Any Speaker who becomes a Speaker for the government only is not a proper Speaker,” he added.

He also thanked media members for constant coverage, adding that press freedom is paramount to the nation.

The Dewan Rakyat had today approved a motion to remove Mohamad Ariff, with 111 yays to 109 nays.

Opposition MPs had earlier called for bloc voting to decide the motion tabled by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Malay Mail was informed that Kota Marudu MP Datuk Seri Maximus Johnity Ongkili was absent for medical reasons, while another vote belonged to Deputy Speaker Datuk Rashid Hasnon, who was unable to cast his vote as he was presiding over the meeting.

Earlier, the debate over the motion had extended into lunch hour, as per de facto Parliamentary Affairs Minister and Law Minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan’s proposal under Standing Order 12 (1).

* In an earlier version of this story, former Court of Appeal judge Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof was inadvertently and mistakenly named as a former Federal judge. We apologise to Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff for any inconvenience this may have caused him. 

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