KUALA LUMPUR: It is up to Umno to decide how it wants to address the issue of its two MPs not participating in the protest against the appointment of the Speaker for the 14th Parliament, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said.
According to Najib, the staged walkout against the appointment of Parliament Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, was a party decision.
“That was a party decision. I leave it to the party to decide. Probably they should explain to some extent why they did what they did,” he told reporters when met at the Parliament lobby on Monday (July 16).
Najib was referring to Umno’s Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin and Kimanis MP Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, who remained seated in the House during the staged walkout.
When asked how he felt to be an Opposition MP for the first time, Najib said, “I have accepted it. My priority is to service the people and I want to be an Opposition lawmaker who is constructive.
“I want to play a role so our country’s democracy functions to provide meaning to the principle and practice of a healthy democracy.”
Najib said the ball is on Pakatan Harapan’s court now, to ensure that the Opposition is treated fairly.
“We were always accused when we were the government. Now, it’s time for them to give the Opposition a chance to speak, which they already denied in the appointment of Speaker.
“We did not oppose the candidacy (of Arif)…. But Barisan Nasional MPs weren’t given a chance to air this,” he added.
The Opposition claimed the appointment process of Ariff was not transparent, as they said that the letter to Dewan Rakyat secretary Datuk Roosme Hamzah proposing Ariff as the Speaker, had been backdated to indicate July 2.
According to Standing Order 4(1), the government must submit a proposed name for Speaker in writing to the Parliament Secretariat within 14 days before Parliament convenes.
However, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad denied such claims, as he maintained that the letter to Roosme was indeed dated July 2.