KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today claimed that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin wanted to remove former Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Mohd Yusof, as the latter had approved the motion of no confidence against him.
Speaking to Investvine, the Langkawi MP accused Muhyiddin of wantonly removing anyone who is in his way and does not support him.
Dr Mahathir also defended Mohamad Ariff, a former Court of Appeals judge, whom he said was neutral and had even kept him, when he was prime minister, in check.
“You know, heads of government-linked companies (GLCs) have been removed, heads of institutions have been removed, but in the case of the Speaker, this Speaker of course wants to be neutral. He was a previous judge, and when drawing up the agenda for the meeting, he had included my proposal to move a motion of no confidence.
“He included that in the agenda for the first sitting of Parliament in May, and I think this must have annoyed the prime minister, that he should not have put that in the agenda, and I think because of that, he wants to change the Speaker. But the Speaker, as far as I can see, he is very neutral. He didn’t support us either. He didn’t support me when I resigned.
“He said it is proper that they should have a replacement for me, but on the other hand, I have a right as the Member of Parliament to move a motion of no confidence, and he included that. I think that is the reason why the prime minister wants to remove him and put in somebody who is more compliant,” he added.
Muhyiddin had tabled a controversial motion yesterday to replace Mohamad Ariff on the first day of Parliament for his newly-formed Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, an unprecedented move that marked the first time a sitting Speaker was voted out.
One hundred and eleven lawmakers had voted for it against 109, just two short of a tie.
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.
The ensuing debate over the motion eventually erupted into a verbal slugfest, as Opposition MPs attempted to thwart the appointment of former Election Commission (EC) chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun, by casting doubt over the legality of the process.
Just moments earlier, Dr Mahathir and four other Opposition lawmakers accused the new government of tainting Parliament by appointing a new Lower House Speaker through what they termed as illegal means.
He and four former Parti Bersatu Pribumi Malaysia (Bersatu) MPs said newly minted Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun is not the Speaker legitimately picked by members of the Lower House, as his appointment was not put through a vote.
The statement was signed by Dr Mahathir (Langkawi), his son Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir (Jerlun), Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman (Muar), Maszlee Malik (Simpang Renggam) and Amiruddin Hamzah (Kubang Pasu).
The lawmakers also suggested the appointment was rushed through, noting that little time was provided to debate both the motions to replace Mohamad Ariff, and install Azizan, despite the magnitude of such motions.