KUCHING: State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Deputy Speaker Dato Gerawat Gala said there was no basis for the call by Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei to remove Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar from his office.
Gerawat pointed out that the appointment of a DUN Speaker is made by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister under Article 15 (1)(a) of the State Constitution which reads “The Yang di-Pertua Negeri shall, acting on the advice of the Chief Minister, appoint – (a) a Speaker from among persons who are members, or qualified to be elected as elected members, of the Dewan Undangan Negeri under Article 16.”
He noted that the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg as the leader of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) commands the confidence and support of 72 elected members out of 82 elected members, whilst Wong has only seven elected members of DAP.
“There is no Parliamentary Practice in the world that heeds the call of a seven elected member party for the removal of the Speaker against the massive overwhelming majority of 72 elected members.”
Therefore, Gerawat said it is unthinkable “for such a call to take place or to be taken seriously”.
“If the call of Wong King Wei is heeded then no subsequent Speaker can last for more than three months because a speaker is removed every time a lone opposition member asks for his removal.”
Gerawat said Wong was referred to the Committee of Privileges for his “offensive, acrimonious and vitriolic remarks made in the Dewan against the Dewan, the Executive and Speaker, thereby abusing his privilege as a member”.
“His referral to the Committee of Privileges is consistent with Westminster Parliamentary and Standing Order 89 and under Erskine May’s ‘Parliamentary Practice’ 24th Edition.
“The decision is consistent with Jeyaretnam’s case in Singapore when he was referred to the Committee of Privileges for his remark against Parliament and Prime Minister.”
According to Gerawat, the Committee of Privilege sat on Feb 18 and was chaired by himself.
“The Speaker is the chairman of the Committee of Privileges. The definition of ‘Speaker’ includes Deputy Speaker under Standing Order 2 of the DUN Privileges and Powers Ordinance 2007.
He said the proceedings of the Committee of Privileges’ meeting is compiled in a report which will be tabled in the coming DUN sitting.
“This report will be debated and the Member for Padungan can fully participate and defend himself against any recommendation of the committee.”