Bersatu supreme council member A Kadir Jasin has suggested that the motion to replace Parliament speaker in tomorrow’s parliamentary session could be used as an indirect means to gauge support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
“The motion could be used to show confidence in the prime minister or as an indirect no-confidence vote against him depending on the ‘yea’ and ‘nay’ from members (of Parliament),” Kadir (above) said in his blog posting today.
This comes as Muhyiddin, who heads the recently formed Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, last month submitted several motions to have Dewan Rakyat Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof and his deputy Nga Kor Ming replaced.
The motions, which have been accepted by Ariff for debate, will be the first motions to be tabled when the august House reconvenes tomorrow. The Dewan Rakyat session is slated to run from July 13 to Aug 27.
It was reported that Muhyiddin intends to nominate former Election Commission (EC) chief Azhar Azizan Harun (below, left) as the new speaker and BN Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said as deputy speaker.
“Muhyiddin could be betting on a more thoughtful and kinder treatment from a new speaker whose appointment he has a hand.
“But it might not be as easy as that. He could face resistance from House members. They might not agree with his attempt to remove Ariff and appoint Azhar.
“If this happens, his standing as the prime minister will be hurt because such an outcome could be interpreted as an indirect no-confidence vote against him,” the veteran journalist wrote.
Azhar was appointed to head the EC by the previous Pakatan Harapan government, of which Muhyiddin had been apart.
Kadir pointed out this is the first time in the nation’s history that a sitting premier had proposed to remove a Dewan Rakyat speaker and a deputy speaker.
The former media advisor to then-premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad suggested the choice of Azhar as the possible Yang di-Pertua could be to continue to give a semblance of independence to the chair.
Azhar has since resigned from his top post at the EC on June 29.
“But it raises eyebrows because only four months ago, Muhyiddin had nominated his elder brother, former federal court judge Idrus Harun, as attorney-general.
Ariff (below, right), a former judge, had quit party posts in Amanah prior to being proposed as a speaker, while Nga, who is Teluk Intan MP, is with DAP.
Deputy speaker Mohd Rashid Hasnon, who is the Batu Pahat MP aligned with the PN government, is not affected by the motions.
Kadir today also pointed to speculation that Muhyiddin’s move to garner a new speaker could be in anticipation of Mahathir’s no-confidence motion against the prime minister.
Mahathir, the former PM of the Harapan government, filed the motion after his government was toppled following the Sheraton Move led, in part by his former cabinet minister Muhyiddin.
The motion, however, was initially supposed to be heard in the previous Parliament sitting in May but was deferred as the government decided to hold sitting for just one day in light of the novel coronavirus health crisis.
“Conversely, if he succeeds in having Ariff removed and Azhar appointed, his position becomes stronger and Mahathir’s no-confidence motion could see a tougher passage.
“But whatever the outcome may be, the final objective must still be for the good of the country and the people more so as we enter the recovery phase of the Covid-19 pandemic and rebuilding of the economy,” the blog post read.