Azalina says quit as deputy speaker to make room for reform

·2-min read
In a statement, the Umno MP for Pengerang conceded to struggling to perform the role without bias, before offering a suggestion to address this. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
In a statement, the Umno MP for Pengerang conceded to struggling to perform the role without bias, before offering a suggestion to address this. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 23 — Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said has confirmed earlier reports that she has resigned as the Deputy Speaker of Parliament.

In a statement, the Umno MP for Pengerang conceded to struggling to perform the role without bias, before offering a suggestion to address this.

“In future, Speakers and Deputy Speakers of the Lower House should be suspended from any political party posts to ensure political impartiality, which is a key feature of the office, so he or she can effectively function without fear or favour,” she said.

“The developments in the past 17 months have led me to reflect on the institutional defects of our parliamentary institutions and my own limitations to discharge my duty well in such a setting without compromising my professional integrity.”

Azalina was appointed as the Dewan Rakyat’s first female Deputy Speaker in July last year along with Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun.

Both had at times not seen eye to eye with Azalina frequently calling for Parliament to reconvene as there was a lack of government response for answers outside Parliament.

She said today that there was a lack of consultation and discussion when it came to decisions, and she wished to vacate her seat for new faces.

“The lack of consultation and joint decision making impacted my performance as Deputy Speaker. As per Standing Order, a Deputy Speaker cannot make his or her own ruling in the Dewan.

“With the appointment of the new prime minister, and the public’s loud and clear demand for multiparty cooperation, I have tendered my resignation today to vacate my seat so that the government and the opposition may have more room to reset our Dewan Rakyat so that this September house can truly function as the forum for professional competition and collaboration between Parties on policies and governance.

“I will support any reforms the government and the Opposition may want to move in their collective wisdom. It has been a great honour and privilege to serve as Deputy Speaker, an office that I sincerely respect, for the past 13 months,” she added.

It was reported earlier today that Azalina had tendered her resignation in anticipation of a ministerial post in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s soon to be formed Cabinet.

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