Dr Mahathir, four MPs challenging appointment of Speaker in court? It’s a democratic country, says deputy speaker

Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon is pictured at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 20, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon is pictured at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 20, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Rashid Hasnon is aware of a legal challenge of the appointment of Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun as Dewan Rakyat Speaker and Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said as the other deputy speaker.

Rashid said the Dewan Rakyat has yet to receive notice of the originating summons reportedly filed earlier today, but added that the lawmakers were free to “do anything in the practice of democracy”.

“I take note of the Langkawi MP Dr Mahathir and four others taking legal actions to challenge the appointment of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker as reported on a local news portal.

“In my opinion, Tun and the four others can do anything in the practice of democracy as long as it abides by the rule of law.

“I have not received the notice and will leave it to the legal process to take further action,” Rashid said in a statement this afternoon.

News portal Malaysiakini had earlier reported the five MPs to be legally challenging the appointment of Azhar and Azalina through a suit filed by their lawyer Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali at the High Court.

Dr Mahathir, who stepped down as prime minister in February, remains Langkawi MP. The other four MPs listed as plaintiffs are: Jerlun MP Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, Simpang Renggam MP Maszlee Malik, Kubang Pasu MP Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah, and Sri Gading MP Datuk Shahruddin Md Salleh.

The five plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that the appointments of Azhar and Azalina are invalid, inconsistent and contradictory with the Federal Constitution and Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders.

They are also seeking a declaration that following the Speaker's post vacated by Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, all MPs must be given an opportunity to find a candidate for the position.

The five plaintiffs also want a declaration that the posts of both Dewan Rakyat Speaker and Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker remain vacant since July 13.

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