PETALING JAYA : Be truly “impartial” in carrying out your duties, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun has been reminded by his predecessor.
Speaking at an online forum today, former Dewan Rakyat speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof said his criticism of Azhar was regarding impartiality.
“As a Dewan Rakyat Speaker, you have to be impartial. You cannot side with the executive.
“The Speaker is the speaker of the whole house, for heaven’s sake. Someone has to tell him.
“He or she must be impartial. You cannot protect a minister. You cannot suggest an answer to the minister,” he said at the forum titled “Whither Democracy and Constitutional Monarchy in Malaysia today?”
Ariff said this is where the present Speaker had allegedly not followed the rules and conventions of his position.
Azhar had previously been accused of taking sides when he interjected during a debate in the Dewan Rakyat between finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz and Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng on a 1MDB settlement.
Lim had asked Tengku Zafrul if the US$3.9 billion settlement agreement with Goldman Sachs had been discussed and agreed upon by the Cabinet.
Before Tengku Zafrul could answer, Azhar said: “This is a decision by the finance ministry and it would surely have been brought to the Cabinet.”
Subsequently, Azhar rubbished claims that he had taken sides.
On the larger question of what was wrong with Parliament, in relation to the poor or bad behaviour of some MPs, Ariff said everyone needed to ask themselves that question.
“We have to ask what’s wrong with us? What’s wrong with me? (That) we have a bunch of jokers who create problems in the house.
“We put the jokers there, through the political set-up.
“But there are many of us who would blindly follow, blindly toe the party line, come what may. This is where things have to change.”
The forum was hosted by OHMSI Perdana Forum.
By : Robin Augustin – FMT