PETALING JAYA : Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said of Umno has resigned as deputy speaker of the Dewan Rakyat and called for future speakers and deputy speakers to be suspended from political party posts to ensure impartiality in their parliamentary office.
She also called for shared decision-making and responsibility, impartiality, fairness and mutual respect in Parliament.
In a statement this evening (Aug 23), Azalina cited moral, personal and political conflicts as reasons for her resignation, and said the lack of joint decision-making had affected her performance as deputy speaker.
She said she was vacating her seat for the government and opposition to “reset” the Dewan Rakyat at its September sitting, to allow the lower house to function as “the forum for professional competition and collaboration between parties on policies and governance.”
“I will support any reforms the government and the opposition may want to move in their collective wisdom,” she said.
Azalina had been speculated to be in line for appointment as parliamentary and law minister in the new cabinet being formed by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob. She had previously served in that role in the Najib Razak cabinet in 2015 and 2016.
She acknowledged that her resignation came amid the appointment as the new prime minister and the public’s demand for multiparty cooperation.
Among her reasons for resigning was due to the conflict of roles and responsibilities between being a member of Umno’s Supreme Council and an MP of a ruling coalition.
“In future, Speakers and Deputy Speakers of the Lower House should be suspended from any political party posts to ensure political impartiality, which is a key feature of the office, so he or she can effectively function without fear or favour.”
Azalina also said the developments in the past 17 months had led her to reflect on the defects of Malaysia’s parliamentary institutions and her own limitations to carry out her duties without compromising her professional integrity.
She maintained that her personal values pertaining to the rule of law, parliamentary democracy as well as check and balance had been consistent since the Emergency proclamation in January.
“My frustration and distress are public knowledge, and the reasons known. My official capacity is warranted by law and process, which is to uphold the Federal Constitution and Standing Orders of the Lower House at all costs.”
Finally, noting that she was not permitted to make her own ruling in the house, Azalina explained that the lack of consultation and shared decision-making and responsibility, impartiality, fairness and mutual respect in Parliament.d joint decision-making had impacted her performance as deputy speaker.
She added that she wished to see shared decision-making and responsibility, impartiality, fairness and mutual respect in Parliament.