Perikatan Nasional (PN) will not support any move to amend the constitution in order to create a position for a third deputy speaker, with its chairman Muhyiddin Yassin saying there is no need for one at this point.
In a statement, Muhyiddin said the role of two deputy speakers as provided for in Article 57(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution is enough to ensure the smooth running of Dewan Rakyat meetings.
“The provisions of Article 57(3) which allow any member of the Dewan Rakyat to chair meetings in the absence of the speaker and deputy speakers are also enough for this purpose.
“So there is no need to amend the constitution to add on the role of another deputy speaker at this time,” he said, adding that the proposal to amend the constitution for this reason would require the support of two thirds of the MPs.
The issue came about after Azalina Othman Said resigned as deputy speaker in August, days after she joined about a dozen MPs aligned with former prime minister Najib Razak and Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in withdrawing their support for the PN administration led by Muhyiddin.
She cited conflict between her party role and being a ruling MP, while calling for the post of speaker and deputy speaker to be filled by those who are impartial and who hold no political posts.
The election of a new deputy speaker to fill her post was postponed to enable an amendment to Article 57 (1)(b) of the Federal Constitution to increase the number of deputy speakers from two to three.
Two names had been mentioned for nomination: Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan and Teluk Intan MP Nga Kor Ming
But MalaysiaNow previously reported that PN had decided not to support Umno’s plan to nominate Ahmad despite the Pontian MP’s recent acquittal of a money laundering charge.
MalaysiaNow also reported that the coalition was against a proposal to create a third deputy speaker’s post to accommodate an MP from the opposition.
A source familiar with the discussions said the decision not to back Ahmad was in keeping with PN’s principle that it would not support any leader tainted by criminal cases for senior posts.
Muhyiddin said today that the memorandum of understanding between the government and the opposition in Parliament was limited to the issues agreed to and clearly stated in the pact inked on Sept 13.
“Amending the constitution to increase the number of deputy speakers was not part of the agreement,” he said.
“Therefore, it is not reasonable for any party to demand it.”