KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 — Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun today rubbished a news report that he rejected applications from four Umno lawmakers who wanted to sit with independent MPs in Parliament.
The allegation was reported by the website Malaysia Dateline, which claimed the four MPs had formally asked that they be placed alongside other Independents. The report further alleged that the request had been rejected a week before the ongoing Special Sitting that began yesterday.
According to the news portal, one of the MPs who purportedly made the request was Bagan Datok MP and Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Azhar issued a statement this evening “staunchly” denying the allegation. He claimed no such application had been made as suggested by the report.
“I would like to staunchly deny the news report and would like to state that I had never received such requests from the said members of Parliament,” he said.
“I consider the report a lie and defamation against myself,” he added.
The Malaysia Dateline report, written in Bahasa Malaysia and titled “Zahid and three other MPs also requested to sit with the Independent bloc”, was published at around 2pm today.
Citing a party insider, the report named Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan (Pontian), Datuk Ahmad Nazlan Idris (Jerantut) dan Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub (Machang), as the other three Umno applicants.
Yesterday, Gua Musang MP Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah had formally asked to be seated among other Independents, effectively becoming the first Umno federal lawmaker to do so following the party’s decision to retract its support for the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
The formal request was stated in an official letter to Azhar dated July 26 and sighted by Malay Mail.
In the letter, Tengku Razaleigh outlined his intention to not be associated with other members of Parliament seated with the ruling bloc where his current seat is located.