Malaysiakini Opinion

Could Harapan miss out on electing its own speaker?

Bob Teoh  |  Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | Pakatan Harapan may not get its choice for speaker when the Dewan Rakyat commences its 14th session next Monday. This is because the new ruling coalition may have missed the two-week deadline for submitting their nomination.

Theoretically, Umno could have quietly nominated their own candidate. There is nothing to preclude the party from even nominating ousted prime minister Najib Abdul Razak to be speaker of the lower house, as he is an elected MP.

If he is the only candidate nominated then he automatically becomes the speaker automatically. Likewise, there is nothing to preclude Pakatan Harapan from nominating Anwar Ibrahim.

If no party submits their nominations within the 14-working day deadline, then there might be a constitutional crisis. The lower house cannot sit without a speaker, and the 222 newly elected MPs cannot be sworn in.

Further confounding the situation, if the gridlock is not resolved within 24 hours, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may not be able to deliver his royal address the following day. Hence there might not be any business for Parliament to conduct. It would be stuck in an unprecedented embarrassing situation.

Of course, the remedy would be to remove the newly-elected speaker from the position, possibly through a vote of no confidence. But then the damage would have already been inflicted on Harapan.

According to the official Parliament portal...

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