Analyst tells how Kedah can avoid state election over speaker

Political analyst Awang Azman Awang Pawi. (Youtube screengrab)

GEORGE TOWN: A political analyst today offered some advice to the Kedah government on how to prevent a possible state election should both Pakatan Harapan (PH) and the opposition fail to agree on who should be the state assembly speaker: choose a respected candidate whom PAS and Barisan Nasional (BN) cannot reject.

Awang Azman Awang Pawi, from Universiti Malaya, said Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir should choose someone who is not an elected representative but who is within the PH fold.

Such a person should also have a background in law in order to be appointed as the state assembly speaker, he said.

“That person must be someone who is well respected in Kedah. When that figure is a respected one, it will be hard for PAS and Barisan Nasional (BN) to reject such a nomination,” he told FMT when contacted.

Mukhriz had reportedly expressed hope that the opposition assemblymen would accept PH’s choice for state assembly speaker.

The Jitra assemblyman was reported by Utusan Online as saying that in the event the house is equally divided, a vote from the speaker would have to be considered.

He said there was also a likelihood of a state election, if either side’s proposed speaker was rejected by the other side.

In the recently concluded general election, PH won 18 seats in Kedah, one short of the 19 needed for a simple majority. The remaining seats were won by PAS (15) seats, and BN (three).

Awang said both PAS and BN, as the opposition in Kedah, needed to be big-hearted and forward thinking. He advised them not to play “cheap politics”, saying this would only have a negative impact on the people and the state’s development.

“The people want elected representatives who can serve them, to better their well-being, and to resolve issues faced by them.

“PAS and BN must prioritise these key issues, including the appointment of the state assembly speaker. They must be an effective and responsible opposition in the relevant issues.

“There must be checks and balances, but this does not give them the right to simply reject all the views of the government of the day,” he said.

Awang also criticised the Islamist party for proposing a unity government in Kedah, saying it had all along been more friendly to BN and reluctant to work with PH.

He said holding another state election in Kedah would be unrealistic as well as a waste of time, energy and money.

He also said it would be disadvantageous to both PAS and BN, as the support of the people was now with PH.

“It is my view that should a state election happen, PH could win with a bigger majority. The sentiments are very much favourable to PH now,” he said, adding that PAS and BN could end up losing more seats.