KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 — Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (BN-Pengerang) raised eyebrows when she suddenly appeared to preside over the Dewan Rakyat sitting during the debate on the motion of thanks for the royal address this afternoon.
Hassan Abdul Karim (PH-Pasir Gudang), among the many surprised lawmakers, even questioned whether or not the temporary replacement was done according to procedures.
“I was surprised to see Azalina, who had earlier debated the motion as a backbencher, presiding over the sitting this afternoon.
“I have no problem with her chairing (the sitting), but is it done according to procedures?…because we are debating the motion of thanks for the royal address and there was no announcement made by the Speaker about a replacement,” he said.
The sentiment was shared by Sim Tze Tzin (PH-Bayan Baru) who said that the post of Deputy Speaker left vacant by Azalina on Aug 23 should be filled as soon as possible.
“I was disappointed when the Pengarang MP tendered her resignation (last month) because she has what it takes to be the Deputy Speaker or even the Speaker, but she resigned anyway…and the vacancy needs to be filled as soon as possible,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Pengerang MP said she was asked by Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun to temporarily preside over the sitting in accordance with Standing Order 7 (3) of the Dewan Rakyat.
“Just temporarily…maybe next Monday or Tuesday, somebody else will take over, maybe the Bayan Baru MP, or the Pasir Gudang MP, I will inform the Speaker,” she said.
In a brief statement, Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon explained the situation by quoting Standing Order 7 (3) which stated:
“Tuan Yang Dipertua (Speaker) may at any time during a sitting ask a member to take the chair temporarily, without formal communication to the House, and such member shall be invested with all the powers of the Speaker until the Speaker returns.”
At yesterday’s sitting, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the election of Deputy Speaker of Dewan Rakyat has been postponed to the Second Meeting of the Fourth Session of the 14th Parliament scheduled for October.
He said the motion on the election was originally listed in the Order Paper of the ongoing First Meeting of the Fourth Session of the 14th Parliament.
The postponement was to enable amendment to Article 57 (1)(b) of the Federal Constitution to be made to increase the number of Deputy Speakers from the current two to three.