Azalina: Why can’t Muhyiddin’s vote be done before Agong’s Dewan speech?

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Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said has suggested that an alternative voting process be made available for a motion of confidence in the prime minister.

In a statement, the Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker pointed out that there was no written rule on the process of a vote of confidence under the Standing Orders.

She then posed two questions:

“Firstly, must the vote of confidence be conducted within Parliament premises to legalise the process?

“Secondly, if an open voting or a secret ballot is required, then such can be done before the Speaker, as the adjudicator, and votes counted by the Dewan Rakyat secretary.

“Therefore, why can’t this procedure take place as soon as possible in the Speaker’s office, witnessed by the chief judge, and in the presence of each party whip?” she asked.

Azalina asked why the motion should only be tabled in September if Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was ready to face the vote, adding that he could call for a special sitting under Standing Order 11(3).

Under this particular provision, she said, the only requirement for an urgent government agenda to be tabled in Parliament was on grounds of “public interest”.

“The legitimacy of the government is clearly a matter of public interest that should compel the prime minister to call for a special meeting as soon as possible,” she added.

She also pointed out the King was scheduled to officiate the Parliament sitting on Sept 6 with a royal address – which would be prepared by the government – read out to MPs.

She questioned the timing of the motion of confidence as it would take place after the King’s royal address, describing the arrangement as “rather dubious”.

“Shouldn’t we settle the vote of confidence and test the government’s legitimacy before the royal address? If the government fails to secure the vote, does that mean the King will have to read a new royal address prepared by a new government?

“Furthermore, MPs are expected to debate and vote on the royal address within this sitting. Voting for the royal address means recognising the legitimacy of the government. On the other hand, voting against the royal address is equivalent to rejecting the King’s government.

“Is it possible that the government is using the royal address as a vote of legitimacy in lieu of a formal confidence motion? If yes, I must say this is a rather ‘brilliant’ strategy,” she said, sarcastically. – FMT