KUALA LUMPUR: Parliament should be a venue for discussing matters of national interests and not for serving the personal interests of its members to the extent of creating animosity, said newly-elected Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun.
In his maiden speech in the august House, he said as the highest legislature in the country, Parliament should be used for discussing substantive matters for the benefit of all, or national interests.
Azhar said to him, the 14th Parliament marked a new era as it would be a catalyst for more meaningful and dynamic debate and analysis although it was generally felt that the slim majority enjoyed by the government would lead to instability.
“However, this objective could not be achieved if our Ahli-ahli Yang Berhormat (honourable members) do not steer clear of party politics when discharging their duties in Parliament,” he added.
He was speaking after being sworn in as the new Speaker at the second meeting of the third session of the 14th Parliament here yesterday.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had proposed Azhar as the 10th Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat to replace Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof after the motion for Mohamad Ariff to vacate the seat was approved by the Dewan Rakyat.
Azhar said Parliament should continue to be strengthened as an institution to help the government fulfil its responsibility to administer the country properly and effectively.
“It is hoped that this is the place where policies and laws ensuring the well-being, safety and prosperity of the people can be introduced by the government. It is also here that all the actions of the government can be questioned and refined,” he said.
Azhar also expressed his appreciation to the prime minister for proposing his name and to Members of Parliament (MPs) for electing him as the Speaker.
“My thanks also go to all MPs who took part in the process of my election, including those who did not support my election, because their participation has further enhanced our practice of parliamentary democracy,” he said.
“This election is a big honour for me, but I am aware that it is also a national mandate given to me. As spelt out in my oath earlier, I will do my best to discharge my duties and fulfil this trust,” he said.
He thanked Mohamad Ariff for his contributions to the Dewan Rakyat and the institution of Parliament, and hoped that MPs would give him the kind of cooperation they had extended to Mohamad Ariff. — Bernama