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INTERVIEW | Reforms and regrets - Ariff reflects on his speaker stint

INTERVIEW | Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof has an ability to appear at once wise and wide-eyed, energetic and elegant, diplomatic while also direct.

This demeanour translates onto the pages of his latest book (“not a memoir!”, he insists) chronicling his eventful tenure - and ouster - as the Dewan Rakyat speaker.

It is a Friday morning when we meet over Zoom.

Ariff is dressed in a casual, short-sleeved deep blue shirt, and this writer is caught off-guard, unaccustomed to seeing him outside his gold-and-black speaker robes.

It has been 19 months since he made unenviable history as the first sitting speaker to be booted out.

Was he inspired by fellow Sheraton Move casualty Tommy Thomas to write Parliament, Unexpected?

The former attorney general released a memoir last year, which became a bestseller and the subject of a defamation lawsuit.

Ariff chuckles and answers no. He wanted to set the record straight on what happened and explain some of his decisions.

It was also, to quote a phrase from the book, aimed at “demystifying Parliament” for the benefit of the public.

Reform to prioritise confidence motions

In his book, Ariff takes pains to explain why he had rejected then interim prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s request for a special sitting at the height of the Sheraton Move crisis.

Eventually, it was the Yang di-Pertuan Agong who determined Bersatu’s Muhyiddin Yassin had the majority to form a government after interviewing every single MP.

This motif would...

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