Never once, in the 800-year-history of the United Kingdom’s House of Commons, was a House Speaker removed before a parliamentary term ended, said former Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusoff.
He was referring to the Westminster system of Parliament which Malaysia follows, in commenting on his removal as the Lower House of Parliament’s Speaker today, following a motion tabled by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
He said as per the normal practice of countries which follow the Westminster system, a new Speaker is nominated only when a new parliamentary term starts.
“Which means, after a general election, and so what’s happening today is something extraordinary, because I don’t know of any other country that had replaced their Speaker – except for Trinidad and Tobago.
“In Trinidad, back in the 1990’s, the Speaker was removed because he was involved in corruption.
“Other than that, there aren’t any other examples,” he told a press conference at the Parliament building today.
Asked if he thinks Malaysia is setting a world precedent with his removal, Ariff agreed, but said he was unsure if it is a good precedent for other countries to follow.
“In a way, yes, Malaysia is setting the precedent for the world, but I don’t know if it is a good precedent. It is definitely an extraordinary one.
“They (the government) should’ve waited (for a new parliamentary term). It all goes back to principles.
“A speaker is appointed by the House, and so he doesn’t speak for the government. If he becomes a Speaker for the government, then he is not a proper speaker,” he said.
However, he said his termination from the post was in accordance with the constitution.
“I do not have a problem, the decision was adhered to and it was made by the Members of Parliament, not the Prime Minister or Cabinet.
“This is our Constitutional system, and on principle, it is something which should be adhered to,” he said.
Ariff’s deputy, Nga Kor Ming, at the same media conference, said he decided to step down in solidarity with Ariff.