KUALA LUMPUR – July 13, 2020: Dewan Rakyat speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md. Yusof was today removed by a vote of 111 to 109.
The voting followed almost an hour of boisterous behaviour by MPs from both sides after the motion to remove Ariff was tabled by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
According to the agenda of today’s session, former election commission chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun and Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said would succeed Ariff and his deputy Nga Kor Ming.
Opposition MPs had argued on the legality of the motion while those with the ruling Perikatan Nasional understandably maintained otherwise.
Opposition leader and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim asked Perikatan to not act in haste, given how this was the first time a speaker was going to be removed simply because a new candidate had been found.
“This is a big issue. Why is he being removed when he did not make any mistake? If another suitable candidate comes along after three months, are we going to do this again?” Anwar questioned.
Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) claimed that the motion was unlawful as Standing Orders 3 and 4 state that the speaker can only be replaced if the seat is vacated.
“A new candidate cannot be put forward unless there is a vacancy,” he said.
Law Minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan however argued that the motion was legal and in tandem with Article 57 (2) of the federal Constitution that deals with matters concerning a vacating of the post.
Selecting a new speaker, said Takiyuddin, can be done in three ways: (1) when parliament meets after a general election; (2) if the current speaker loses his parliamentary qualification and (3) if parliament so resolves [to do so].
“This motion is based on the federal Constitution, on which the Standing Orders are based. This motion has no flaw, the papers are in order and were accepted by the speaker himself on June 16,” pointed out Takiyuddin.
All MPs were present today except Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili (PBS-Kota Marudu), who is unwell.