KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 — Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun must clarify the absence of a confidence vote for the prime minister as well as the motion for him to vacate his position as the Dewan Rakyat speaker, Opposition lawmaker Lim Guan Eng said today.
The DAP secretary-general also accused Azhar of failing in his constitutional role for allegedly ignoring the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decree for a motion of confidence to be tabled in Parliament once a new prime minister was sworn in.
“Similarly, Azhar had also chosen to follow his brother not in so many words but through indirect action by not advising the new government to submit a vote of confidence which he had personally heard from the King,” Lim said in a statement.
Azhar’s brother is Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun.
Lim said the Agong had issued a royal command on August 17 for a vote of confidence to be held in Parliament after the new prime minister is appointed.
He added that the decree in Istana Negara was made in the presence of all the heads of political parties, Azhar, and Idrus, but asserted that the latter two “had chosen to openly defy and disobey the King” with their public remarks that a confidence vote in Parliament was unnecessary.
In a statement on September 4, Idrus explained that the appointment of a prime minister is the constitutional responsibility and absolute power of the Agong based on the Federal Constitution’s Article 40(2) and Article 43(2)(a).
“Such logic that a vote of confidence would nullify the King’s power to appoint a Prime Minister is difficult to comprehend when the King himself had issued a royal command that such a vote of confidence should be held in Parliament,” Lim said.
The Bagan MP said Azhar must now explain the absence of a motion for his replacement to be presented in Parliament after several MPs had filed them with sufficient notice.
He pointed out that Umno president and Bagan Datuk MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was among those who filed the motion, nominating Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said as the new Dewan Rakyat speaker.
“There is no doubt that Azhar had disappointed many MPs with his poor performance in failing to uphold the supremacy of Parliament, independent from the dictates of the executive, but also his open defiance and disobedience to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to reconvene Parliament during the Emergency.
“Azhar must come clean on these two important issues to ensure that Parliament be allowed to play its proper role of check and balance to focus on the Covid-19 pandemic and economic recession to save lives and livelihood,” Lim said.
Azhar had previously said had passed on the decision to Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon as it would be a conflict of interest for him to accept or reject the motion on his replacement.