By Chew Lip Song
THE Election Commission (EC) chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun has resigned and is tipped to take over as the Dewan Rakyat speaker, as PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin seeks to consolidate his razor-thin grip of power, a news portal reported.
The Malaysian Insight reported that Azhar is slated to replace Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Mohd Yusof, who will be given the boot following a motion to remove the latter by Muhyiddin.
Azhar – popularly known as Art Harun – tendered his resignation yesterday, the same day his nomination for the Speaker’s post was submitted.
“He sent his resignation in. But it will be up to Parliament to debate his nomination when it sits on July 13,” a source said.
“It could go either way but Perikatan Nasional has the majority to push the nomination through,” another source told The Malaysian Insight.
By convention, lawmakers are given 14 days to nominate a new speaker when the post becomes vacant. If more than one candidate is proposed, it will be decided through a vote.
Azhar was appointed by the previous Pakatan Harapan government to head the EC after the historic 2018 general election that ended Barisan Nasional’s rule since 1974.
The Kedahan, 58, is known as a human rights lawyer and writer in the past decade.
Muhyiddin had submitted a motion to replace Ariff and his deputy Nga Kor Ming, on June 26.
Batu Pahat MP Mohd Rashid Hasnon, who is the other deputy speaker, is not affected by the slew of new nominations to top jobs in the legislature.
The prime minister is expected to table the motion on the first day of the sitting on July 13.
Nga is a DAP lawmaker while Ariff is a retired judge and has been lauded by both sides for making parliamentary reforms since coming to office in 2018.
The move will buy time for Muhyiddin to thwart any attempts to oust him in a no-confidence motion in the House. Ex-PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad had already said that he’s planning to table the motion when the Dewan Rakyat meets next month.