Azalina Leaves to Court to Decide Legitimacy of Appointment as Deputy Dewan Speaker

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The courts have no jurisdiction to rule on the validity of parliamentary proceedings, including the appointment of speakers and their deputies, said Azalina Othman Said.

The Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker, in a statement today, pointed out that Article 63(1) of the federal constitution states that the validity of any proceeding in Parliament or any of its committees cannot be questioned by any court.

She cited the case of former Perak assembly speakers V Sivakumar and R Ganesan, where it was ruled that speakers’ dismissal and appointment falls outside court jurisdiction.

The Pengerang MP said Teluk Intan lawmaker Nga Kor Ming quit as deputy speaker, rendering the post vacant, before she was appointed.

“However, as the matter is now before the courts, I, as a lawyer, am leaving it to the courts to decide.”

Hari Anggara

Azalina’s statement comes after she and Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun were served summons filed by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and four other MPs, challenging the duo’s recent appointments.

Deputy Speaker Mohd Rashid Hasnon and Dewan Rakyat Secretary Nizam Mydin Bacha Mydin were served summons today, said Dr Mahathir’s lawyer, Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali.

Apart from the Langkawi MP, the four other plaintiffs are Mukhriz Mahathir (Jerlun), Maszlee Malik (Simpang Renggam), Amiruddin Hamzah (Kubang Pasu) and Shahruddin Md Salleh (Sri Gading).

Online case management has been fixed for August 11 before Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid, said Rafique.

In their originating summons, the plaintiffs said the appointments made on July 13 are unconstitutional and in breach of Parliament’s Standing Orders.

A statement issued by Law Practice of Rafique, the legal firm representing the five, said the appointments did not follow procedures.

The plaintiffs said MPs must get 14 days’ notice to propose names once the positions of speaker and deputy speaker are vacant.

There must be the process of nomination and debate, followed by a vote, for such appointments to be deemed legal, they said.

On July 13, Muhyiddin Yassin’s motion to remove Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, the Pakatan Harapan-appointed speaker, passed with 111 MPs for and 109 against. The vote was seen as an indirect test of the prime minister’s support in Parliament.

Azhar was then appointed as speaker without a vote, sparking furore among opposition lawmakers. Azalina, meanwhile, was voted in as his deputy, taking over from Nga, who resigned earlier in the day in solidarity with Ariff. – TMI