Art Harun denies favouring PN after Goldman Sachs debate

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Harun.

KUALA LUMPUR: Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Harun today denied favouring the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government after an incident in which he appeared to help Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz answer a question about the recent settlement with Goldman Sachs last week.

Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby here, he said he had not spoken on behalf of the minister.

“I was keeping time. That’s all I can say.”

He was responding to questions about claims that he had “shifted over” and was “siding” with the PN government.

During the debate on Aug 6, he had interrupted a question from Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan) who asked if the Cabinet had agreed to the US$3.9 billion settlement.

Zafrul said US$2.5 billion was a cash payment while the remaining US$1.4 billion was a bank guarantee.

Lim then asked if the Cabinet had discussed and agreed to the sums.

But before Zafrul could answer, Azhar said: “This is a decision by the finance ministry and it would surely have been brought to the Cabinet.”

Azhar, who was previously chairman of the Election Commission, took over as speaker on July 13.

The motion to remove former speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof was tabled by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and approved by a narrow vote of 111 from the government MPs against 109 from Pakatan Harapan MPs.

Speaking today, Azhar said he did not want to polemicise his actions, adding that he saw himself as a judge in the Dewan Rakyat.

“I can’t do that (polemicise actions) and I’m not going to do that,” he said.

“I will receive all criticism. What can I do? It’s my job.”