KUALA LUMPUR (July 13): Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusoff, speaking after his ouster as the Dewan Rakyat Speaker today, said this is the first time in the history of the world that a speaker is removed before the dissolution of Parliament.
He said the only other country that has done this before is Trinidad and Tobago in the 1990s, but this was due to an offence committed by the speaker.
Mohamad Ariff pointed out that the House of Commons in the UK has never seen such a move over the past 800 years, while the incident in Trinidad and Tobago was due to the speaker being involved in bribery.
“I don’t know whether it is a good precedent, but it certainly is something extraordinary,” he said at a press conference.
“They should have waited until Parliament was dissolved. Speakers are appointed by the house, and the house does not only comprise the government, backbenchers and ministers, but also the opposition and their backbenchers.”
He added: “The speaker, once he is appointed, does not speak for the government only; he speaks for the whole house. Any speaker that becomes a speaker for the government only is not a proper speaker.”
Mohamad Ariff, however, said his removal was done constitutionally by way of voting, adding that it is the MPs that decide on the appointment of the speaker — not the Cabinet or the Prime Minister.
As to whether he was under pressure, he said he is not anyone's special officer. "Do I look like I'm under pressure?" he said in jest.
"They can say whatever they want, but I stick by the book. It is very necessary for the system to work efficiently," added Mohamad Ariff.
Meanwhile, he hoped that the reform efforts put in place during his tenure would be continued by the new speaker, Datuk Azhar Harun, and supported by the executive.
“Those reforms were necessary to preserve the system. It is to place Parliament where it should really be — as a place that people respect, a place where there is dignity and decorum, where people have high regard for constitutional principles and the rule of law.
“Sometimes we don’t see this happening. This is why we need to continue the reform,” he said, adding that he was aiming for no less than an international standard for the Malaysian Parliament.
“It will be a great pity if there is a clawing back on the reform efforts that we have undertaken,” added Mohamad Ariff.
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