Saturday, February 14, 2009

State Assembly Speaker - His position when a new Government is formed.

I was asked by a Sopranos in the comment section of my earlier posting about the position of the Perak State Legislative Assembly Speaker now that the Government have changed hand. Is he still the Speaker or otherwise. Similarly is the Deputy Speaker, now that she has left DAP.

This is a very interesting point. It have to be made clear that Speakers need not be an ADUN of the State Legislative Assembly or an MP in the case of Parliament. Nevertheless, Deputy Speakers (Parliament allows for 2) must be members of the Assembly or Parliament as the case maybe.

If the Speaker is not a member, he shall be virtue of his post be part of the Assembly and shall also be called a YB and will enjoy all the perks as provided for by the Government including the Perdana Executive in the case of Pahang and naturally the Camry as in the case of Perak and Selangor. Pahang have decided not to have a Deputy Speaker yet for this term. Last term Pahang had one and enjoyed the perks provided for including a Perdana V6. In that respect, YB Hee was right in claiming for her Camry.

The appointment of Speaker for the House of Representative in the Malaysian Parliament is provided for in the Federal Constitution and similarly for the Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly by the Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri.

For Parliament it is follows:-
Article 57
57. (1) The House of Representatives shall from time to time elect - (a) as Yang di-Pertua Dewan Rakyat (Speaker), a person who either is a member of the House or is qualified for election as such a member, and (b) two Deputy Speakers from among members of the House;
and the House shall, subject to Clause (3), transact no business while the office of Speaker is vacant other than the election of a Speaker
(1A) Any person elected as Speaker who is not a member of the House of Representatives -
(a) shall before he enters upon the duties of his office, take and subscribe before the
House the oath of office and allegiance set out in the Sixth Schedule; and
(b) shall, by virtue of holding his office, be a member of the House additional to the members elected pursuant to Article 46:
Provided that paragraph (b) shall not have effect for the purposes of any of the following
provisions of this Constitution, that is to say, Articles 43, 43A, 43B, 50 to 52, 54 and 59; and no
person shall be entitled by virtue of that paragraph to vote on any matter before the House.

(2) The Speaker may at any time resign his office by writing under his hand addressed to the Clerk of the House of Representatives, and shall vacate his office -
(a) when the House first meets after a general election; (b) on his ceasing to be a member of the House otherwise than by reason of a dissolution thereof or, if he is a member by virtue only of paragraph (b) of Clause (1A), on his ceasing to be qualified to be a member;
(bb) upon being disqualified under Clause (5); (c) if the House at any time so resolves. 

(2) A Deputy Speaker may at any time resign his office by writing under his hand addressed to the Clerk of the House of Representatives, and shall vacate his office - (a) on his ceasing to be a member of the House; 
(b) if the House at any time so resolves.

(3) During any vacancy in the office of the Speaker or during any absence of the Speaker from any sitting, otherwise than by reason of the House first meeting after a general election, one of the Deputy Speakers or, if both the Deputy Speakers are absent or if both their offices are vacant, such other member as may be determined by the rules of procedure of the House, shall act as Speaker.
(4) If a member of the Legislative Assembly of a State is chosen to be Speaker he shall resign
from the Assembly before exercising the functions of his office.
(5) A person who is elected to be Speaker shall be disqualified from holding such office if after
three months of his election to such office or at any time thereafter he is or becomes a member of any board of directors or board of management, or an officer or employee, or engages in the affairs or business, of any organization or body, whether corporate or otherwise, or of any commercial, industrial or other undertaking, whether or not he receives any remuneration, reward, profit or benefit from it.
Provided that such disqualification shall not apply where such organization or body carries out any welfare or voluntary work or objective beneficial to the community or any part thereof, or any other work or objective of a charitable or social nature, and the member does not receive any remuneration, reward, profit or benefit from it.
(6) Where any question arises regarding the disqualification of the Speaker under Clause (5) the decision of the House of Representatives shall be taken and shall be final.

In short, the Speaker shall remain in office even when there is a change of the Government of the day. He can resign at anytime and he can also be removed when the Assembly or House as the case maybe SO RESOLVES. That be the situation, the Speakers and Deputy Speakers shall remain in office even with the change of Government as in the case of Perak. He may resign by just writing to the Clerks of the Assembly. If he did not resign, the new Government of Perak will have to table a motion/resolution for his removal and will have to follow the due course of the business of voting and the majority will count.

Nevertheless, it must also be remembered that Speakers are like Judges in a court and must be impartial, fair and without bias. Can the Speaker of Perak do that? If he can't, he should resign by his own accord rather than be removed by a motion or resolution tabled in the Assembly.

It will be interesting to see if the Deputy Speaker in the DAP women now "Bebas" be promoted to Speaker. If she is really "BEBAS", the Speaker post is right for her. She will be "bebas" from all impartiality, unfairness and bias.

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