Opposition MPs kick up fuss on seeing speaker’s seat unoccupied

Azalina Othman Said was made deputy speaker on Monday.

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition MPs took their chance to needle the government when they saw the speaker’s chair vacant for seven minutes today.

RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) said this was the first time a speaker had been missing from the hall.

“The prime minister is here but the speaker is missing. That is why the speaker should not be changed,” he said, adding that it was an embarrassing moment. “Respect the prime minister. He is here waiting.”

He also said it was a “day in history” as the speaker was seven minutes late in starting the session.

“Is this how Perikatan Nasional runs the government?” he added.

Other MPs also appeared restless, with some asking if there was a sitting at all today.

Another joked that the government was looking for a key to “the back door”.

Newly installed deputy speaker Azalina Othman Said later arrived to chair the afternoon session of the Dewan Rakyat.

Shahidan Kassim (BN-Arau) said the delay was due to a change in seating arrangements although others questioned the link between the two issues.

Seating arrangements were given to MPs before proceedings began on Monday.

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