ADUN SPEAKS | Matters of the Perak State Legislative Assembly proceeded on May 12. As an assemblyperson and state executive council member, I am thankful that the sitting of the house achieved its democratic and legal purposes and we can now proceed to administer in accordance with the laws that govern the state.
As a member of the House, however, I believe it is my duty to explain in earnest the process that took place to replace the outgoing speaker, Ngeh Koo Ham.
With the fall of the Pakatan Harapan coalition, the speaker had, in essence, lost the majority required in the assembly to continue serving. By convention and in respect of the new political configuration in the assembly, the speaker should have resigned voluntarily as soon as the assembly was underway.
It should have been the first order of business after the royal address by His Royal Highness Paduka Seri Sultan Perak Darul Ridzuan, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah Ibni Almahrum Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah Al-Maghfur-Lah.
For the record, the Speaker had informed the Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu a few days earlier that there were apparently three motions of no confidence against his leadership. The motions were, however, delivered to the speaker directly instead of through the proper channel - the State Assembly Secretariat.
The initiators of the motions were also not identified to the menteri besar. This was highly unusual, yet the menteri besar noted that there were no objections for these motions to be tabled as soon the speaker vacated his seat.
Upon the completion of the royal address, the speaker noted to the House that he intended to make some announcement (which may include rulings). This prompted the menteri besar to invoke Section 13(2) of the House Standing Orders, which notes that any motion moved by the menteri besar must take precedence over any other order of business. This was to call for a vote in the House to verify if the speaker continued to enjoy the majority needed to maintain his position.
This was rejected by the speaker although 13(2) clearly states that the menteri besar’s motion should take precedence over any other order of business. The menteri besar then proceeded to call for a vote to remove the speaker which was successful.
This was the reason for the unfortunate commotion in the House.
I believe the speaker should have vacated his seat as soon as he lost the vote. It was unfortunate that he refused to do so.
However as the house calmed down, members of the assembly from both sides allowed the ex-speaker to make his speech. Although the ex-speaker tried to then adjourn the assembly at the end of his speech, his attempt was quickly negated by the fact that the adjournment of the assembly required a motion, as per the assembly standing orders.
Also, bear in mind that the ex-speaker was no longer the speaker at that point of time, based on the invoked 13.2 Standing Order and the motion put forward by the menteri besar for the speaker to vacate his seat, which was seconded by 35 members of the State Assembly.
As the assembly continued to be in session, members of the assembly proceeded to elect a new speaker - Mohammad Zahir Abdul Khalid (above).
It must be noted that the notice to appoint a new speaker was in fact delivered to the Assembly Secretariat seven days before, as per the requirements of Section 4(1) of the Standing Orders.
As an assemblyperson, I must insist that all legislature governing the State Legislative Assembly has to be adhered to at all times. The integrity of the assembly is paramount.
I also humbly believe the Perak State Legislative Assembly is not a platform for one to make political sermons. And the time for talking politics has ceased as we are facing much greater challenges on an unprecedented scale.
SHAHRUL ZAMAN YAHYA is the assemblyperson for Rungkup and also a Perak state executive councillor.
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