The Johari Abdul-for-speaker fiasco

Opinion  |  Terence Netto
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | The Pakatan Harapan leadership council will meet at 2.30pm this afternoon to go over the issue of who is to become speaker of the federal legislature and who are to be the deputies.

Yesterday, PKR MP for Sungai Petani Johari Abdul was touted as the Harapan nominee for speaker. Two MPs from DAP were to be nominees for the two posts of deputy speaker.

But Johari cannot be nominated by Harapan for speaker of the 14th Parliament whose opening session is scheduled for next week.

This is because in addition to being MP for Sungai Petani, the three-term parliamentarian is also the state assemblyperson for Gurun.

Article 57(4) of the Federal Constitution holds that Johari can only be nominated for speaker if he resigns from his state seat.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has informed his subordinates that Johari cannot be nominated as speaker because of constitutional stipulations.

This is because a Johari resignation would trigger a by-election in Kedah which Harapan would surely not want to risk. The ruling coalition controls 18 seats in the state assembly and the opposition, composed of PAS (15) and BN (3), are in a dead heat with them.

The matter of the speakership had become unexpectedly contentious because of the rivalry between PKR and DAP to place their reps in the post.

Both parties, having the largest (PKR with 47) and second largest (DAP with 42) number of MPs respectively in Parliament, feel hard done by on account of what they see as the disproportionate allocation of ministerships in the federal cabinet.

Both have six ministers each, one more than each of their fellow Harapan components Bersatu and Amanah, in spite of their lower haul of federal seats – the former with 13 and the latter with 11...

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