KUALA LUMPUR – July 13, 2020: Amidst heckling by his detractors, newly-appointed Dewan Rakyat speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun thanked not only the MPs who voted him but also those who did not.
Azhar, widely known as Art Harun, pointed out that those who voted for and against him had helped nourished the country’s democracy and legitimised his appointment to replace Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md. Yusof.
“I consider this a trust given to me,” said Azhar in his maiden speech, which was interjected by loud boos and derision from opposition MPs, particularly Khalid Samad (Amanah-Shah Alam) whom Azhar later ordered to leave the house.
Azhar, until recently the chairman of the Election Commission, then reminded MPs of parliamentary decorum and their collective responsibility in championing the interests of the nation instead of their own.
“Parliament is not a congress for self-interests. It is a conference to discuss national interests. You are chosen by the people but when you are here, you are not only representing those in Pagoh, Langkawi or Port Dickson.
“You are also representing parliament. I hope you will cooperate with me, as you had with Tan Sri Ariff, so that we can perform our duties for the good of the country. I will do mine by being fair and just,” pledged Azhar.
Azhar’s appointment was heatedly objected today as opposition MPs deemed the motion to replace Ariff – tabled by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin – as unlawful.
In his first order of business, Azhar appointed Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (BN-Pengerang) as his deputy after Nga Kor Ming (DAP-Teluk Intan) resigned following Ariff’s removal.
A shouting match that ensued, particularly over allegation of sexism against Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (BN-Baling) by Kashturi Patto (DAP-Batu Kawan), prompted Azhar to postpone the sitting to 10am tomorrow.