KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has described the walkout by opposition MPs from the Dewan Rakyat today as play-acting.
“That’s ‘sandiwara’ (play-acting). For the first time, the ex-prime minister walked out of the Dewan Rakyat, so now he knows what it means when people staged a walkout before,” he said, referring to Pekan MP Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who also participated in the walkout.
Dr Mahathir was queried on the incident by reporters at the Parliament lobby after the swearing-in of the MPs.
All but three MPs from Barisan Nasional and PAS had walked out from the august House midway when Dr Mahathir was making a proposal to nominate retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohamad Arif Md Yusof as the new Speaker.
The three who did not join the fray were Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau), Datuk Seri Anifah Aman (BN-Kimanis) and Datuk Rozman Isli (BN-Labuan).
The opposition MPs claimed that the Pakatan Harapan government had not adhered to procedure in the appointment of the Speaker, that it had not given the required 14-day notice to Parliament.
Dr Mahathir denied the opposition claim that the government had backdated Mohamad Ariff’s nomination letter, saying that it was prepared earlier.
On the Pakatan Harapan manifesto that the Dewan Rakyat Speaker should be appointed from among its MPs, Dr Mahathir said that for certain reasons it could not adhere to the manifesto.
He noted that the manifesto was more of a guidance.
“Sometimes, we can do things and sometimes we find that we cannot do (things), so we have to be practical-minded. But I think the public likes to have somebody who’s not related to any party (as the Speaker),” he said. – Bernama