Senior minister ‘interfering’ in speaker’s decision goes against reforms-lawyer

23-Sep-2021 Intellasia | Malaysiakini | 5:02 AM Print This Post

A senior minister allegedly blocking Dewan Rakyat speaker Azhar Azisan Harun from inviting an opposition MP to chair the sitting goes against the parliamentary reforms being touted by the government, lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla said.

“It would not only be wrongful interference unto the powers of the speaker but also against the spirit of the memorandum of understanding signed for reform of Parliament,” he said in a statement.

Haniff (above) was responding to a report yesterday that Azhar had invited DAP’s Teluk Intan MP Nga Kor Ming, a former Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker, to chair the House sitting but was blocked by an unnamed senior minister.

Azhar had previously also invited Umno’s Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said, another former deputy speaker, to chair the sitting, which she did.

This was amid a vacancy in one of the two Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker posts, which was supposed to have been filled on September 14.

However, the vote on this was postponed amid concerns that the government numbers could fall short due to protests by Bersatu.

Prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s government had nominated Umno’s Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan, who is standing trial for money laundering.

Haniff said with one of the seats still vacant, the workload would naturally increase.

Therefore, he added, Azhar would need assistance and it is within his powers to invite any member of the House to chair the sitting under Standing Order 7(3).

Haniff, who had previously served as a lawyer for former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said it was wrong for the executive to meddle in parliamentary affairs.

“Ismail Sabri should take the report seriously and if true, it is crucial that he corrects the matter.

“The minister responsible should apologise in the Dewan Rakyat and to Malaysians as well,” he said.


Category: Malaysia

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