Speculation had been rife that former cultural adviser to the government Rais Yatim would be appointed the Dewan Rakyat speaker. The Pakatan Harapan manifesto, however, states that the speaker would be chosen from among elected representatives and Rais Yatim is not a member of the Dewan Rakyat. On the grapevine, it has been bruited about that the choice of speaker of the 14th Parliament, which will be called into session next week, was already decided last night by the Pakatan Harapan presidential leadership council.
Pakatan Harapan leaders held a late night closed door meeting at the Perdana Leadership Foundation. Leaders seen leaving the foundation at about 10.30pm were Pakatan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, Pribumi deputy president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir and Pakatan secretariat chief Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah. Earlier, Saifuddin said Pakatan was sticking to its general election manifesto that the Dewan Rakyat Speaker should be appointed from among its Members of Parliament. “To meet the manifesto requirements, the Speaker will be among the members of Dewan Rakyat,” he said. Saifuddin also pointed out that Pakatan wanted the Speaker to have a sense of responsibility to Dewan Rakyat members and to do their jobs fairly and equally.
He also said Pakatan component parties had submitted their choice of candidates. A source said the nominee for the Speaker would likely be an MP from PKR or DAP since most Pribumi or Amanah MPs had been appointed to hold positions in the Federal Government. “If you zoom in, Amanah is left with two MPs while the ones left in Pribumi are first-timers who may be too green to carry the heavy responsibilities. That leaves MPs from PKR and DAP because we have 50 and 42 seats, respectively,” the source said. Pribumi won 13 seats while Amanah has 11. According to source, DAP pushed for party adviser Lim Kit Siang while PKR recommended Nurul Izzah Anwar for the post. Both parties were compelled to think better of their propositions when their impropriety was pointed out, for Kit Siang is the father of Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Nurul Izzah is the daughter of Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
While Nurul Izzah’s name was set aside because of her ties to the deputy prime minister, her party recommended their Sungai Petani MP Johari Abdul for the post. DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang brushed aside talk of him being linked to the post, saying that he would leave the decision to the Pakatan top leadership. “Politics is not about chasing titles but serving the Government and the people. What’s important now is that we fulfil the hopes of the people,” said the Iskandar Puteri MP at the opening of the Kuala Terengganu DAP service centre yesterday. Earlier today, PKR president and Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad would likely make the announcement either today or tomorrow. She said a name had been chosen during last night Pakatan Harapan (PH) leadership meeting.
“The prime minister will announce the chosen name. Perhaps today or tomorrow, the prime minister will release it,” said Dr Wan Azizah, who is also the Women, Family and Community Development Minister. Several names have been speculated to fill in the post including former minister Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim, Bersih 2.0 chairman Datuk S. Ambiga, and former Selangor State Assembly Speaker Hannah Yeoh. The first sitting of the 14th parliament session will be held from July 16 to Aug 16. The Dewan Rakyat secretary’s office said a notice on the 20-day sitting has been issued to the Members of Parliament and the first agenda of the meeting would be the appointment of the Dewan Rakyat Speaker. The session will be opened by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V at 10am.