Speaker Art Harun denies siding with Perikatan MPs during Dewan Rakyat proceedings

Soo Wern Jun
·3-min read
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun speaks during a press conference in Parliament August 12, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun speaks during a press conference in Parliament August 12, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 — Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun has denied allegations suggesting that he sides with Perikatan Nasional (PN) MPs during Parliament proceedings.

Azhar, who is popularly known as Art Harun, said he was merely doing his job and will not entertain any questions on such claims.

“I’m not going to justify any actions of mine.

“I’m not going to polemicise whatever I do while I sit on the chair. That’s what I do, it’s a job to me.

“So I’m not going to answer all those questions, sorry, I can’t, and I shouldn’t,” he said when met by reporters at the Parliament building today.

Further denying the claims, he also likened his actions to a judge, whose decisions are final.

“It’s like a judge, when they make a judgment and that’s it, you know.

“So I can’t answer all those questions, sorry,” he said.

Azhar was responding to reporters’ questions on claims that have surfaced on social media, indicating his apparent partiality towards PN MPs during last week’s sitting when the finance minister was delivering his winding-up speech for the debate on the King’s address.

News reports have indicated likewise, where Azhar was described as appearing to speak on behalf of Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

Azhar, however, also denied doing so, saying that he only intended to keep time on speech duration.

“I didn’t speak on behalf of the finance minister.

“I do not want to polemicise and render whatever I do as a polemic. I can’t do that and I’m not going to do that.

“I will receive all criticisms. What can I do? This is my job,” he said.

On July 13, Azhar was appointed as the new Dewan Rakyat Speaker without a vote from MPs, invoking protest from the Opposition.

His appointment took place amidst a shouting match between Opposition and government MPs, after he was sworn in without a voting session by lawmakers, similar to the process undertaken to remove incumbent Speaker Tan Sri Mohd Ariff Md Yusof.

Azhar has since justified this decision, and insisted that his appointment was legitimate, saying that there is no need for a voting session in the Lower House, should there only be one nominee.

His appointment also triggered former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and four others to file a suit to challenge both Azhar’s appointment and that of Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

The suit was filed to seek a declaration that the seat of the Speaker was vacant since July 13 and the appointments of Azhar and Azalina were invalid and unconstitutional.

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