Umno to nominate Azalina as Speaker

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Umno plans to nominate Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said to be the new Dewan Rakyat speaker, according to party sources.

Mohd Sahar Misni/The Star

This is amid attempts by the opposition to remove current speaker Azhar Harun.

According to an Umno source, the party believes they should control the Speaker’s chair and that Azalina is the right candidate.

This is as Azhar is perceived to be a “Bersatu man”, the source said.

“Today’s government is not a Perikatan Nasional one. It is a ‘Malaysian family’ government headed by Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

“Umno’s view is that the Speaker’s position should be given to our party,” the source said on condition of anonymity.

Two Umno supreme council members also confirmed with Malaysiakini that plans to nominate Azalina to replace Azhar were in the works.

‘Yes, Azalina has been chosen. The president (Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) will move the motion,” one of the supreme council leaders said when contacted.

The Pengerang MP had previously served as Deputy Speaker to Azhar.

She quit her job in August, in hopes of “resetting” Parliament. She had previously expressed in private her frustration that the previous government had hamstrung the Dewan Rakyat.

Many had expected that Azalina would be appointed to Ismail Sabri’s cabinet, but this did not come to be.

The opposition had held Azalina in high regard when she served as Deputy Speaker, with Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh saying the former had been very consultative and had actively engaged with the opposition.

Azalina in turn has suggested that the vacant Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker post be filled by an opposition representative.

Azhar’s tenure as Speaker, meanwhile, has been heavily criticised as being too partial to the government, with Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh once calling him a government lapdog.

There have been at least 15 motions filed to remove him in the upcoming Parliament sitting.

However, at least two have been rejected by Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Rashid Hasnon – whom Azhar had empowered to decide on such motions against him.