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AFP
July 14, 2020

Malaysia PM wins parliamentary test of support

World

AFP
July 14, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia´s prime minister narrowly won a vote to remove the parliament speaker during a rowdy session of the legislature Monday, a key test of support for the embattled leader. The Southeast Asian nation has been gripped by turmoil since a reformist government collapsed in February and Muhyiddin Yassin became premier, at the head of a coalition backed by a scandal-plagued party. He took power without an election, and there had been speculation he did not have sufficient support from MPs to hang on to power. But in a closely watched vote as parliament resumed following a break due to the coronavirus pandemic, his motion to remove the speaker won the support of 111 MPs against 109 for the opposition. It was the first time that a speaker had been removed in such a fashion in Malaysia, and sparked fury from the opposition. “What happened today is a travesty of justice, death of parliamentary democracy and stifling of (the) people´s mandate,” tweeted opposition lawmaker Charles Santiago. “Challenging days ahead for the country.

After the removal of Mohamad Ariff Mohamad Yusof — who had been appointed by the previous administration — the premier tabled a motion for him to be replaced by Azhar Azizan Harun. The opposition demanded a vote and sought to propose an alternative candidate, but former election commission chief Azhar was hurriedly sworn in without one. A shouting match erupted between rival MPs, with opposition lawmakers chanting “vote, vote, vote” and one branding Azhar a “back-door speaker” — and subsequently being ordered to leave the chamber. James Chin, a Malaysia expert from the University of Tasmania, said the victory was important for Muhyiddin as the speaker decides whether a vote of confidence should go ahead. Mahathir Mohamad, who was premier until resigning in February amid political turmoil, had

been pushing for such a vote.