KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 – Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul has today asserted that he is not a “postman” delivering Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s message to the Election Commission.

He defended his decision to not vacate the seats of the six former Bersatu MPs, saying he has studied the situation in detail before making the final call.

“I want to say that I am not a postman. When I receive whatever has been given to me, I will make sure, I will ensure and will study everything.

“I even read all the statements in the construction of the amendments made about Article 49A. So I made a decision and that decision remains and there is no vacancy,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat here.

The remark was made after Beluran MP Datuk Ronald Kiandee raised a standing order during the Evidence of Child Witness (Amendment) Bill debate to discuss the matter.

Several Opposition MPs also voiced their disagreement towards Johari's decision after Ronald.

Syahredzan Johan (DAP-Bangi) defended Johari saying that the Speaker has the right to determine whether a seat can be vacant or not.

“In the Federal Constitution, it says whenever the Speaker receives a written notice from any member of the house of representatives, on the occurrence of casual vacancies among the members of the house of the representatives, the Speaker shall establish that there is such casual vacancy and notify the election commission.

“This means that the Speaker is not a postman. His job is not only to receive notice and pass it to the Election Commission. Speaker has the right to determine whether there's a casual vacancy. That's written in the Federal Constitution,” he said.

The Opposition then staged a walkout from the Dewan Rakyat just before Johari was about to give his ruling.

Labuan MP Datuk Suhaili Abdul Rahman and five other former Bersatu MPs previously declared support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim despite being members of the Opposition party.

Aside from Shuhaili, the five are Datuk Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid (Kuala Kangsar), Mohd Azizi Abu Naim (Gua Musang), Zahari Kechik (Jeli), Datuk Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal (Bukit Gantang) dan Datuk Zulkafperi Hanapi (Tanjung Karang).

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