Having opposition deputy speaker, a progressive move

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KUCHING: The appointment of an opposition lawmaker to be deputy speaker in the Dewan Rakyat has been described as a progressive move.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said this would reflect the country’s political maturity.

“Parliament is an institution that practices the principle of check and balance in monitoring the country’s administrative system.

“Therefore, in my opinion, an amendment to allow the appointment of three Deputy Speakers of Dewan Rakyat, one of whom is from the opposition, is a progressive initiative,” he said in a Facebook post on Sunday (Sept 26).

Wan Junaidi said Parliament should be an inclusive institution, where the government and the opposition could discuss people’s issues productively.

“This is important for the reform of Parliament, especially when the people are also beginning to realise the importance of checks and balances.

“At the same time, it would ensure that the voices of their elected representatives can be heard and taken into account more effectively in the august House,” he said.

Earlier this month, a motion to elect a new deputy speaker in the Dewan Rakyat was postponed to allow for a constitutional amendment which would see a third deputy speaker post from the opposition in the House.

Wan Junaidi explained the reason for suspending the appointment of a new deputy speaker was because the government was seeking to table amendments to the Federal Constitution, namely Article 57(1)(b).

This would allow deputy speakers to be increased from two to three and that the third position be chosen from among opposition lawmakers.

“The amendments mean that irrespective of who is the government of the day, one of the deputy speakers will have to be from the opposition,” he said.

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