Ruckus in Parliament as scant time given to debate PM’s motion to remove Speaker

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin delivers his speech during the second meeting of the third session of the 14th Parliament during a live broadcast in Kuala Lumpur July 13, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin delivers his speech during the second meeting of the third session of the 14th Parliament during a live broadcast in Kuala Lumpur July 13, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — Pandemonium broke out in the Dewan Rakyat as Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin tabled a motion today to remove Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof.

Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon only allowed two MPs to debate the matter from each side of the divide, but with only 10 minutes each, leading to protest from Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and other Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders.

“This is a big issue, not a technical issue and I hope the prime minister can hear and answer before the MPs decide by voting. So there is no reason why we should limit it to two people and limit the time,” Anwar said, adding that this is the first time in history such a motion has been tabled.

The PKR Port Dickson MP added that Muhyiddin also did not provide justification for Ariff’s removal, such as any wrongdoing, and labelled Ariff’s service thus far as excellent.

“In Parliament, he formed select committees which was never done before,” Anwar said, also criticising the performance of the presiding Deputy Speaker, Datuk Rashid Hasnon, whom he said was unable to answer questions raised by MPs pertaining to the motion to replace the Dewan Rakyat Speaker.

“What wrong did Tan Sri Speaker do that he needs to be removed? What is the reason?!” Parti Amanah Negara Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad later asked.

DAP Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo meanwhile raised Point of Order 3 and 4 from the Standing Orders book, pointing out that a new Speaker can only be appointed after the Parliament’s dissolution or should there be a vacancy of any sort.

He added that the nomination of a new candidate is not valid unless said position is vacant.

“So we in the Opposition want to know where the vacancy is? If there is no vacancy, the suggestion cannot be made. This is a basic procedure,” Gobind added.

Muhyiddin will also be moving three other motions to appoint former Election Commission (EC) chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun to replace Mohamad Ariff; another to remove Mohamad Ariff’s deputy, Nga Kor Ming; and a motion nominating Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said to replace Nga.

This is to be done according to Order 4(1) of the Standing Orders of the Dewan Rakyat. The motions are listed as the second to the fifth motions in the House’s Order of Business.

The motion faced fierce opposition from PH MPs who are against the move to replace former Federal Court judge Mohamad Ariff and Nga.

As this will be the first order of business after Ministers’ Question Time, the motion will answer once and for all whether Muhyiddin commands the support of the majority in the Dewan Rakyat.

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