DAP has given its strongest support yet for Umno’s Azalina Othman Said to be appointed as speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, as the Pengerang MP finds herself without a role in the current government after her resignation as a deputy speaker and her failure to obtain a Cabinet position.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng also revealed that party deputy chairman Gobind Singh Deo had met Azalina, hoping to convince her to accept a nomination to replace Azhar Harun as speaker, accusing the latter of causing the Parliament to become a tool of the government.
“DAP is willing to discuss further with her if she is serious about putting her name forward to replace Azhar to restore Parliament’s image and credibility that has been badly damaged by Azhar’s subservience to the executive,” Lim said.
Azalina and DAP MPs have been on friendly terms ever since she joined Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former leader Najib Razak in revoking their support for the Perikatan Nasional government under Muhyiddin Yassin last month.
DAP’s Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh had openly campaigned for Azalina to be given the post of minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of legal affairs.
Azalina, who resigned from the deputy speaker’s post during the power vacuum, later returned the gesture with a call for an opposition MP to be appointed to fill the vacancy.
Following her failure to make it to Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s Cabinet, DAP leaders launched a new campaign for her to be nominated as speaker.
Yesterday, MalaysiaNow reported that a move by Umno to appoint Azalina as speaker could no longer be tenable following DAP’s “unauthorised support” for her.
“The intense lobbying by some DAP MPs in support of Azalina only made her chances more remote,” an Umno Supreme Council member had said.
Meanwhile, it was learnt that Umno leaders aligned with Zahid were vouching for Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan to be appointed as deputy speaker.
Like Azalina, Ahmad was among the Umno MPs who heeded the call by Zahid and Najib to revoke their support for Muhyiddin.
Ahmad is also part of a group of former leaders from the previous Barisan Nasional government known as the “court cluster”, who are facing court charges related to corruption and money laundering.