The one silver lining to come out of the “disastrous” changing of the Dewan Rakyat speaker yesterday was the united front put up by opposition leaders Anwar Ibrahim, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and Shafie Apdal, said Hannah Yeoh.
The Segambut MP said the three statespersons had been united in speaking against the controversial swearing-in of former Election Commission (EC) chief Azhar Azizan Harun as the House speaker without going through a vote.
This despite going into the proceedings amidst soured relations between Anwar and Mahathir - former rivals turned allies under the previous Pakatan Harapan government - over the choice of prime minister candidate should Harapan succeed in removing the new Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
After briefly nominating himself to the role, Mahathir and his Bersatu faction now throw their support behind Shafie, who is Warisan president, to be the candidate for prime minister, while the Harapan presidential council has named Anwar as their choice.
“The silver lining for me was seeing something I only knew in theory, which sealed the hope and assurance that what is needed to challenge this awful PN government is a combined force of Anwar, Shafie, and Mahathir.
“They were united in one common purpose yesterday. In taking on the loud taunts and jeers by the opponents, they spoke in measured calmness and defended the importance of an independent speaker and a Parliament that is beyond reproach.
“It was evident they emerged from the loud chaos as respected statespersons of Malaysia,” the DAP MP said in a statement.
Yeoh, who served as the speaker of the Selangor legislative assembly for five years prior to GE14 described yesterday’s Dewan Rakyat proceedings as an “unprecedented disastrous transition of power for the head of the highest law-making institution in this land”.
Opposition parliamentarians are objecting to the swearing-in of Azhar (above) as no vote was taken. Azhar swore in after Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s motion to oust former speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof was narrowly passed.
No vote was taken either to replace former deputy speaker Nga Kor Ming with Umno Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said. Nga had resigned in solidarity with Ariff.
The PN government is accused of bypassing parliamentary proceedings by foregoing the voting process and not allowing the opposition to nominate their own speaker candidate.
Yeoh also alleged that the motion to remove Ariff was unjustified by any reason and was made despite the former high court judge having done no wrong.
She also criticised the actions of various PN lawmakers who purportedly heckled and jeered attempts by opposition representatives to speak during the Parliament sitting yesterday.
“It is evident for the world to see and more importantly, for Malaysians to watch the proceedings of this august House and distinguish the statespersons from the pretenders,” her statement read.
The ongoing sitting, slated to end on Aug 27, is the first full Parliament sitting since the change of government. The previous sitting in May was limited to just one day to listen to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s address due to safety considerations in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Anwar said on Sunday that despite the impasse reached by the unofficial Harapan Plus parties which comprised of Harapan coalition members, Mahathir’s faction of Bersatu, as well as Warisan, he did not have anything personal against the former premier.