“Muhyiddin's submission to Parliament to remove the speaker is a first in Malaysian history." <small> Cover image via Malaysiakini <span></span> </small>
On 13 July, when the Dewan Rakyat reconvenes, it might be the last day for the current Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof and his deputy Nga Kor Ming under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has submitted a motion to replace Ariff and Nga.
The motion was submitted at 4.50pm on Friday, 26 June, just 10 minutes before the 5pm submission deadline, Malaysiakini reported last night, 27 June.
Both Ariff and Nga have confirmed with local media that the Prime Minister is seeking to replace them.
“Yes. Don’t ask me anymore. Please ask the PM and the Law Minister (Takiyuddin Hassan) for further details,” Ariff was quoted as saying by Malay Mail late last night, adding that he is “relaxed” about it.
Meanwhile, Nga described the attempt as "sickening", according to The Star.
The confirmation from Ariff and Nga came after the news about the motion to remove them was first reported by Nanyang Siang Pau, a Chinese-language newspaper published in Malaysia, on 27 June.
Surprisingly, Ariff’s other deputy, Mohd Rashid Hasnon, appears unaffected as his name was not included in the replacement motion
Rashid is Batu Pahat Member of Parliament (MP) and was a member of PKR.
He is one of the 11 MPs who along with Azmin left PKR amidst the political turmoil in late February this year when the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration collapsed. Rashid later joined Bersatu under Muhyiddin.
Ariff, on the other hand, was a member of AMANAH, a component party of PH.
In order to qualify as PH coalition’s candidate for the speakership after the general elections in 2018, he resigned all of his party posts and became an independent politician on 1 July 2018.
Nga is a member of DAP, another component party of PH.
According to Nga, Muhyiddin's move defied parliamentary convention.
Malaysiakini reported the deputy speaker, who is also the Teluk Intan MP, saying that it was the first time a prime minister has sought to remove a Dewan Rakyat speaker and his deputy.
“Muhyiddin’s submission to Parliament to remove the speaker is a first in Malaysian history,” Nga said.
Nga explained that the parliamentary convention dictates that a speaker or deputy speaker can only be replaced when the position is vacant, whether through death, resignation, or the dissolution of parliament.
“None of these three situations has happened,” he said, adding that what makes the motion “unusual” and unprecedented is that it requested the speaker and deputy speaker be replaced on the spot.
The Prime Minister, however, cannot unilaterally dismiss the speaker or the deputy speaker.
“Only the Dewan Rakyat has the power to do that. Whatever the motion, whether it is to replace the speaker or freeze a parliamentary convention, it must be brought to the House for a vote,” Nga said.
“Our position is simple, we will respect the decision made by the Dewan Rakyat. If the house wants us to remain, we will remain. If it wants us to leave, we will leave.”
The motion to replace both the speaker and the deputy speaker was filed under Article 57(3) of the Federal Constitution, which stipulates:
"During any vacancy in the office of the Speaker or during any absence of the Speaker from any sitting, otherwise than by reason of the House first meeting after a general election, one of the Deputy Speakers or, if both the Deputy Speakers are absent or if both their offices are vacant, such other member as may be determined by the rules of procedure of the House, shall act as Speaker."</p>
Recently, several UMNO leaders have expressed their willingness to hold a snap election to put an end to the political uncertainty:
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