Will PN also create history by becoming the shortest-ruling govt in Malaysia, or can Muhyiddin weather the storm?
graphic by MZUKRI
THE upcoming Dewan Rakyat session seems to have all the trappings of a rather unforgettable event.
In fact, it could be one of the most anticipated episodes to be witnessed by the entire nation this year as it will be the first proper sitting after Perikatan Nasional (PN) took over the federal government in March.
To make it more interesting, Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has proposed to remove the current Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof and his deputy Nga Kor Ming.
It is an unprecedented move as the Speaker is usually replaced due to a vacancy as a result of death or incapacitated, or if the Speaker voluntarily resigns from his post.
Article 57(2) stated that the Speaker can only vacate his office by resigning. In layman’s terms, a Speaker usually resigns when Parliament dissolves for a general election), or when he ceases to be a member of the house (either he is not an MP or the Parliament has been dissolved for elections).
It is also stated that if the Dewan Rakyat views the Speaker as no longer fit for the job or otherwise, it is incumbent upon the parliamentarians to vote whether to keep or dismiss the Speaker.
On Sunday, Mohamad Ariff had confirmed receiving the motions proposing to terminate him and Nga from their respective posts.
It was also revealed by some of the Opposition MPs yesterday that Muhyiddin has proposed outgoing Election Commission chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun to be the new Speaker and Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said as the deputy.
The motion will give a strong indication if the Muhyiddin-led PN government commands enough numbers in the Dewan Rakyat, not only to remove Mohamad Ariff, but also to remain as the ruling coalition of the day which would in turn quell criticisms on its legitimacy.
This will be the acid test for Muhyiddin and PN, to move forward with any possible administrative agenda.
Also interestingly, Law Minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan had said PAS will also propose a confidence motion for the PM — which is also viewed as a double-edged sword for PN.
Well, it is too early to tell what’s going to happen next week. Five days is a long time in politics and anything could happen amid heightened rumours of horse-trading and backroom deals in the political world.
Despite various reports and rumoured attempts to lure Warisan leaders away, it appears that Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has managed to keep the Sabah state government intact, save for two defecting assemblymen from Upko.
After all, Mohd Shafie still enjoys a two-thirds majority in the state assembly. Incidentally, the only other states that command a two-thirds majority are the Pakatan Harapan (PH) states of Penang and Selangor.
Notably, if the motion to remove the Speaker fails, the Opposition — especially PH Plus consisting DAP, PKR, Parti Amanah Negara together with Warisan and five ex-Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia leaders — will have the upper hand to go ahead with its non-confidence motion against the PM, expected to be proposed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad himself.
Malaysia may have to face a possible snap election should the King allow it, or the Opposition may seek an audience to show it has the majority to form a new government.
Should PH fail, it may have to review and strategise a new bid to return the people’s mandate as it sets out to do.
If anything, at least the statement displayed a united front for the coalition, compared to the conflicting statements issued in the last three weeks.
Recently, Mohd Shafie’s name was also proposed by the troika of DAP, Amanah and Dr Mahathir’s faction as the PM candidate should PH take over the government.
However, PH presidential council had retracted and pledged support for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. It is also worthy to note that PH is open for discussion with Mohd Shafie on the matter.
Will the Semporna MP be able to make history as the first East Malaysian PM? Will Anwar be willing to make concessions, yet again?
Will PN also create history by becoming the shortest-ruling government in Malaysia, or can Muhyiddin weather this storm and stabilise his government once and for all? I guess we have to wait for next Monday to find out.
Azreen Hani is the online news editor of The Malaysian Reserve.