Dear colleagues, vote wisely on the removal of our Dewan Rakyat Speaker

Press Statement
To my colleagues: please vote wisely

Yes, there are many, conflicting legal arguments being discussed over the last few days.

Some argue the Prime Minister has the right to terminate Dewan Rakyat Speaker, Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, and nominate his replacement.

Others say that’s in your wildest dreams as only Parliament has the power to sack the Speaker.

But Muhyiddin Yassin wouldn’t have exercised that discretion, if at all he has one, if he is serious about parliamentary democracy.

But that’s not on the Prime Minister’s priority list, is it?

I mean, he is so terrified of losing power that his focus is on keeping the top job in the country.

Look at what’s been happening recently: from the high handedness in which we treat refugees and migrants to the police calling my colleague, Hannah Yeoh, for questioning and the ludicrous charge against Steven Gan and Malaysiakini: everything reeks of playing to the voter base or shaking in fear.

Anyone would agree that Mohamad Ariff was credible, impartial, and a reformer.

He didn’t feel the need to curry favour and was critical of Pakatan Harapan lawmakers as well.

The appointment of an Opposition member as head of the powerful Parliamentary Accounts Committee, for example, spoke volumes.

And Special Select Committees were formed to allow lawmakers to play effective roles.

The setting up of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to provide parliamentary interphase with civil society and various stakeholders was innovative.

All this might bite the dust, but are we really that powerless?

While Muhyiddin may or may not have the discretion to nominate his own man, it’s Parliament that decides whether Mohamad Ariff will be removed.

So, here is a request to my colleagues from both camps: please vote wisely.

Parliaments are a core institution in any democratic society, representing citizens.

It’s a place where the voices of the people are heard, through elected representatives.

To highlight this, Bersih has started an online petition urging the rakyat to exercise their right in deciding whether the Speaker should stay.

The election watchdog is clearly asking the people to vote the person who has the interest of the rakyat at heart.

We, the lawmakers, must do the same.

And yes, the debate on the removal of the speaker should only take place, once the Prime Minister shows Parliament that he indeed has a majority.

Charles Santiago
MP for Klang

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