Azalina calls on political parties to look into proper reforms, and take this opportunity to amend laws, not just reform through lip service.
DAP has approached Umno’s Pengerang MP Azalina Said Othman to discuss reforms and possibly even backing her candidacy for Dewan Rakyat speaker.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the party had sent its deputy national chairperson Gobind Singh Deo to meet Azalina over her proposal on recall election, as part of a law package to stop elected representatives from defecting mid-term.
“DAP is willing to discuss further with her if she is serious about putting her name forward to replace Azhar Azizan Harun as Dewan Rakyat speaker,” Lim said in a statement today.
He claimed that Azhar’s “subservience” to the executive had badly damaged Parliament’s image and credibility, thus the latter should be replaced.
Lim said Azalina had in recent months been at the forefront of advocating institutional reforms for Parliament and the DAP would like her to pledge how she can be different from Azhar.
“Azalina should therefore set out her plans on how to avoid Parliament becoming a mere rubber-stamp of the Prime Minister and establish Parliamentary sovereignty as inscribed in our Federal Constitution,” Lim said.
He said that Malaysia’s ongoing Covid-19 health and economic crises could have been mitigated if Parliament had been allowed to perform its role as a democratic institution during the eight month-long nationwide Emergency from January to August.
“The people want Parliament to be the key institution of democracy that makes a positive difference in the lives of Malaysians,” Lim said.
He also said DAP back’s Azalina’s suggestion to appoint an Opposition MP to replace her as the deputy Dewan Rakyat speaker.
“Pakatan Harapan has proposed former Deputy Speaker and Teluk Intan MP Nga Kor Ming for the Deputy Speaker post recently vacated by Azalina.
“As the King has commanded after the election results, ‘Winners should not take all and losers do not lose all’,” he added.
Azalina also recently backed the proposal to implement the anti-party-hopping law which she said will protect voters’ mandate and reduce politicking between political parties.
The former Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker also said that Malaysian politics is in a mess today because of party-hopping.
She was also sending a motion on a Recall Bill to Parliament, according to the report.
Meanwhile, Azalina said Umno must work to address confusion among its grassroots over its cooperation with the opposition, which seems to run counter to the “no Anwar, no DAP” policy adopted at its general assembly, a Supreme Council member said.
She said it was easy for MPs to deal with opposition counterparts, but the rationale must now be clearly communicated to supporters on the ground.
“The confusion would be more for the divisions who are aware of the ‘No Anwar, no DAP’ stand, but now suddenly there is a flip side to it,” she told FMT.
Azalina said this sort of bipartisanship was necessary if true reforms were to be achieved, such as enacting a Parliamentary Service Act, instituting term limits or elevating the opposition leader to a minister-level post.
“One of the most crucial things we must do as Malaysians and as MPs in 2021 is we have to walk the walk. If we say ceasefire, it must be a fair ceasefire for all.
“Let’s look into proper reforms, and take this opportunity to amend laws, not just reform through lip service,” she said.
The kind of cooperation now seen and the recent political turmoil typifies what she called one of the big takeaways from the last year: “No permanent friends, no permanent enemies in politics. Today you’re friends, tomorrow you’re enemies,” she had said.