KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 — The election for a new deputy speaker that was supposed to happen today has been postponed to the next Parliament sitting, de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said today.
He said the postponement is necessary as the government is looking to create a third deputy Dewan Rakyat speaker position that will see it filled by an Opposition MP, but requires an amendment to the Federal Constitution.
“We need to make a constitutional amendment to Article 57(1)(b) to increase the number of [deputy] speakers from two to three. Although it is not specified from where the deputy speakers are being chosen, we will create a rule maybe, so that one of the deputy speakers is from the Opposition.
“I have actually discussed with the AG if the reading can be brought to the end of this session and approved in the October session,” the Santubong MP told the Dewan Rakyat.
Wan Junaidi had earlier tabled a motion to pause discussions on the election of a deputy speaker to replace Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said who resigned in August.
His motion was supported by Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (Arau-BN).
However, Sim Tze Tzin (Bayan-Baru-PH) questioned the delay.
“There are vacancies for the deputy speaker and a lot of parliamentary business with the royal decree, 12th Malaysia Plan and the Budget until December, the work is very heavy for the speaker and deputy Speaker,” he said.
He said that while Parliament reforms are crucial, the current workload may be too heavy for just two people — Speaker Datuk Seri Azhar Azizan Harun and his sole deputy Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon to carry.
“Choose whoever is proposed so that Parliament can move together,” Sim said.
After resigning, Azalina previously suggested that the vacant post should be filled by an Opposition MP.
PH nominated Datuk Seri Nga Kor Ming (Taiping-PH) while the government named Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan (Pontian-BN).
Despite protests from other Opposition MPs, Wan Junaidi’s motion was approved and the election of a deputy speaker is now on hold.