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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun has today outlined the reasons why he has not brought forward the tabling of a motion of no-confidence against Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Azhar was responding to DAP’s Jelutong MP RSN Rayer who asked him to clarify if he could bring forward the motion in question, similar to what transpired in the Perak state assembly last week.
Azhar began by saying he was unsure how the motion of confidence against the Perak mentri besar was handled during the Perak State Assembly.
He added that firstly, he did not know which Standing Order and what powers were exercised by the Perak state assembly Speaker to enable the motion to be brought forward to be tabled and debated.
“Secondly, I am not bound by other Speakers' actions, what more state assembly Speakers whom I'm not familiar with, on how they handled the situation.
“And I'm also unsure of the Standing Orders used in respective state assemblies,” Azhar told the Dewan Rakyat when asked by Opposition bloc MPs to clarify his apparent inaction on the matter.
He then insisted that his actions were “not at his own whims and fancies” and that he has carried out in-depth research on the matter.
“My decision all this while to not bring forward the motion that was moved was not done at my own whims and fancies.
“I did an in-depth research, and if we look at the practice of the Westminster Convention, the Speaker has no power to bring forward the motion of no-confidence to number one (in the Order Paper),” he said.
Azhar also gave an example which happened in the UK House of Commons in 2018 when then Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn had moved a motion of no-confidence against then prime minister Theresa May.
In this case, the motion was not brought forward, and when questioned, the Speaker had said he had not received any indication that the government wanted to bring forward the motion.
“The power is not in the hands of the Speaker and that is the Convention in the UK that we follow.
“So I don’t understand why so many, including lawyers, and even the former attorney general said that I have the power to do so.
“If any of you YBs want to know more about it, I am ready to show you my research,” he said.
PKR’s Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin also asked why Parliament had in 2008 allowed an emergency motion of no-confidence against former prime minister Tun Abdullah Badawi and his Cabinet, but not allowed a similar motion in the present Parliament session.
Azhar however insisted that Malaysia’s Dewan Rakyat follows what is practised in the UK’s House of Commons, in accordance with the Westminster Convention.
In July 2008, then Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail filed an emergency motion with the Speaker’s officer, under Standing Orders 18 (1) and (2), on the grounds that the situation in the country had ‘worsened’ especially for those in poverty and low-income brackets.