KUALA LUMPUR: The motion to remove Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof as Dewan Rakyat speaker was passed by narrow vote today, with 111 government MPs in support and 109 from Pakatan Harapan against it.
The decision was announced by deputy speaker Rashid Hasnon.
The two who did not vote were Maximus Ongkili (PN-Kota Marudu) and Rashid who was in the speaker’s chair.
During the debate on the matter, Dr Mahathir Mohamad (independent-Langkawi) said he disagreed with the basis on which the speaker would be replaced.
“The reason is that there’s someone else interested in becoming speaker,” he said, adding that this was not a valid cause for removal.
He also said the speaker must be neutral. “If he wants to choose to side with the government, that’s a government man.
“I want to say that this government is intolerant with anyone who doesn’t support,” he added.
Here, Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (PN-Baling) asked why Mahathir had replaced the chief judge and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief upon taking control of Putrajaya in 2018.
“This is also the same,” he added.
But Mahathir said the motion was not about him as MP for Langkawi.
“The issue is the motion brought by the prime minister,” he said, adding that it was not in line with the rules.
Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (PN-Pasir Salak) meanwhile said MPs should follow the direction of the new government.
“Give the government a chance,” he said. “We followed the previous government, now follow the new government’s needs.”
Law minister Takiyuddin Hassan, when wrapping up the motion, acknowledged that this was the first time in the country’s history that the sitting speaker had been removed.
“But it’s not illegal,” he said. “This can be done based on the Federal Constitution and rules set in Parliament.”
He said there were also other firsts for Malaysia including the creation of an interim prime minister post.
“When that happened, we accepted it. We are not sacking the speaker,” he added, saying Ariff would only be replaced.
But Gobind Singh Deo (PH-Puchong) said the motion clearly stated that the reason for the motion was because there was a new candidate.
“In the Standing Orders, a replacement can only be made if there is a vacancy,” he said.
“Notice must be given on the vacancy, and other MPs have the right to propose names to fill that vacancy.”
But Takiyuddin maintained that the papers were in order, saying the motion was approved by the speaker himself.
When Gobind maintained that the argument had no merit, Takiyuddin said in the event that a government changes, main positions should change as well, including that of speaker.
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