EC Chief Nominated as Parliament Speaker

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The Muhyiddin Yassin government is nominating Election Commission (EC) chairman Azhar Azizan Harun as the Dewan Rakyat speaker to replace Mohamad Ariff Mohd Yusof, sources said.

It is understood that Azhar – popularly known as Art Harun – tendered his resignation yesterday.

It is learnt that the nomination was also submitted late yesterday.

“He sent his resignation in. But it will be up to Parliament to debate his nomination when it sits on July 13,” a source said.

“It could go either way but Perikatan Nasional has the majority to push the nomination through,” another source was quoted as saying.

By convention, lawmakers are given 14 days to nominate a new speaker when the post becomes vacant. If more than one candidate is proposed, it will be decided through a vote.

Azhar was appointed by the previous Pakatan Harapan government to head the EC after the historic 2018 general election that ended Barisan Nasional’s rule since 1974.


The Kedahan, 58, is known as a human rights lawyer, vocal political commentator and writer.

Muhyiddin had submitted a motion to replace Ariff and his deputy Nga Kor Ming, on June 26.

Asyraf Hamzah/NST

Batu Pahat MP Mohd Rashid Hasnon, who is the other deputy speaker, is not affected by the slew of new nominations to top jobs in the legislature.

The prime minister is expected to table the motion on the first day of the sitting on July 13.

Nga is a DAP lawmaker while Ariff is a retired judge and has been lauded by both sides for making parliamentary reforms since coming to office in 2018.

In May, Ariff accepted former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s motion for a vote of no-confidence in the prime minister.

The government then removed Riduan Rahmat as the Secretary to the Dewan Rakyat in the aftermath.

Analysts reportedly said Muhyiddin is trying to buy time with nominating a new speaker and deputy amid calls from PN leaders for fresh elections.