KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 — Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun and Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said remained as Dewan Rakyat Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively after the High Court here today ruled that their appointments were valid.
This followed the decision of Judge Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid in allowing the application by Azhar, Azalina, and two others to strike out an origination summons filed against them by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and four others to challenge the legitimacy of their appointment.
Ahmad Kamal said that after studying the oral and written submissions of both plaintiff and defendants, he found that the appointments of Azhar Azizan and Azalina were valid and cannot be questioned by the court.
“The first (Azhar Azizan), second (Azalina), third (Mohd Rashid) and fourth (Nizam Mydin) defendants’ originating summons to strike out the application is allowed.
“The court will not set any cost after being satisfied that the issue was indeed of public interest,” he said,
Ahmad Kamal in his judgment said in his view the pleading and the affidavits evidence showed that Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof was removed from his office of Speaker by way of a resolution and motion carried out by the Dewan Rakyat.
“At another stage of the said sitting of the Dewan Rakyat on that day Azhar and Azalina were elected to the office of Speaker and the Deputy Speaker by way of a motion that was brought and passed by Dewan Rakyat,” he said.
The judge said Article 57 of the Federal Constitution expressly provides that it is the Parliament that determines the removal and election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
“I view that any kind of matter or issues concerning the removal and the appointment of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker ought to be examined, discussed, and resolved in the Parliament. The Parliament has exclusive jurisdiction over the matter and it has the absolute right to control its own proceedings.
“Indeed, the decision of the Parliament on July 13, 2020, to remove Tan Sri Ariff as the Speaker and to appoint Azhar and Azalina as the new Speaker and the Deputy Speaker is conclusive,” he said.
In his 39-page of judgment, the judge said as the matter has been determined by the Parliament on July 13, 2020, the court was not allowed to question the validity of the said proceeding in pursuant of Article 63 (1) of the Federal Constitution.
Ahmad Kamal said that the first and second defendants being sole candidate whose nomination was made pursuant to Standing Order 4 (1) and 6 (2) of the Dewan Rakyat shall be declared without question put pursuant to Standing Order 4 (3).
“Therefore, the third defendant’s (Mohd Rashid) decision to declare the first defendant as the Speaker and the first defendant’s decision to declare the second defendant as the Deputy Speaker without debate were lawful,” he said.
Ahmad Kamal further said that having considered the plaintiffs’ pleading, the affidavits and the arguments of both sides and having given the matter the utmost careful consideration, he was of the view that the present case came within the category of plain and obvious case.
“The originating summons is frivolous and vexatious and an abuse of the process of the court. The action has no prospect to succeed,” he said.
On July 23, Dr Mahathir, his son Datuk Seri Mukhriz, who is former Menteri Besar of Kedah, together with former Minister of Education Dr Maszlee Malik, Kubang Pasu MP Datuk Wira Amiruddin Hamzah and Sri Gading MP Datuk Dr Shahruddin Md Salleh, filed a legal action to challenge the legitimacy of the appointments of Azhar and Azalina.
Counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad and Tania Scivetti represented the defendants while lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla representing Dr Mahathir and four other plaintiffs.
Amer Hamzah said based on the decision today, there is no question on the appointments of Azhar and Azalina.
“They can be relieved that their appointments are valid. The court had clearly laid out the legal principles and should not be disputed by any party,” said Amer Hamzah.
Meanwhile, the counsel for Azalina and Nizam Mydin said in a statement that the court’s decision had fortified the doctrine of separation of powers under the Federal Constitution and reinforced the courts’ duty to uphold the constitution.
“The decision today fortified the doctrine of separation of powers as entrenched in the Federal Constitution. The decision also reinforces the Judiciary’s most important role, which is to protect the supremacy of our Federal Constitution,” the statement said.