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Hannah Yeoh can end all the squabbling

Sat 2014-Aug-16 @ MYT 09:30:20 am

Speaker has her own power to call next sitting of Dewan Negeri

Hannah Yeoh, Madam Speaker

The Speaker of the Dewan Negeri is the head of the state legislative assembly, one of the three arms of constitutional government (the other two: the executive, comprising the menteri besar and executive council, and the judiciary).

The Speaker ranks with the menteri besar and the senior high court judge above all commoners in the order of protocol in Selangor.

As head of the legislature, the Speaker acts independently of the executive and judiciary.

Hannah Yeoh, the assembly member for Subang Jaya, was elected Speaker at the first assembly meeting after the general election last year. She is the first woman to be a Speaker, and at 34 years of age, the youngest.

Hannah Yeoh, Speaker of the Selangor state assembly, has the power to cut through the current public squabbling about Khalid Ibrahim and call a meeting of the assembly to decide whether Khalid should remain in office.

As head of the state legislature she can call the meeting by herself. She does not need the sultan’s approval beforehand.

Her power to do so is provided for by law, under the Standing Orders of the house. It allows the Speaker to set dates and call for a sitting of an assembly, while it is in session.

House runs own affairs

Only the Sultan can summon the assembly into session, and only the Sultan can dissolve the assembly. Those powers are under the Constitution, the supreme law.

But once the assembly is called into session, the house looks after its own affairs, as the legislature is an independent arm of constitutional government.

The sultan has already called the assembly into session: that was in April when the Sultan opened this year’s session; the house held its first sitting after that, and a second sitting was held in June. (A session usually lasts one year.)

The house is currently in recess after it adjourned sine die (without setting a new date) in June. The date of the next sitting will thus be decided by the Speaker, and the Clerk of the House will give members at least 28 days’ notice of the new date.

Standing Orders: simple procedure

Standing Orders: simple procedure

It is plain administrative procdure with no constitutional implications. These matters are clearcut and have been standard practice for half a century.

Simple procedure by head of independent legislature

Will Madam Speaker take the bull by the horns and call a vote?

Will Madam Speaker take the bull by the horns and call a vote?

Once the Sultan has summoned the assembly and opened the session, he leaves them to carry out their business themselves. There is no longer a need for royal intervention or approval although by courtesy the palace is kept informed.

As head of the legislature, Hannah Yeoh has the power to let the state assembly decide on Khalid Ibrahim. She has the power to call the assembly’s next sitting. It is merely administrative procedure.

At the sitting, any assembly member can, with the Speaker’s approval, table a motion of confidence to decide whether Khalid Ibrahim, member for Port Kelang, should remain in office as menteri besar.

Confidence motion allows full, open debate by all wakil rakyat

Tabling a motion will allow for a full, open, and public debate on the issue by all the representatives of the people, and for a vote by all the people’s representatives assembled in session.

If a confidence motion goes against Khalid, he is duty bound under the constitution to resign. The Sultan then has discretion whether to choose a new menteri besar from among any of the assembly members, or to dissolve the legislature, leading to new elections.

That is how people power works under the current system, where the people delegate their power to their elected representatives. When a member speaks in the house, he is (supposed to) speak on behalf of his constituency. That is why they are referred to by the name of their constituency (eg YB Kampung Tunku), and not by their own names.

It’s been a week since Parti Keadilan Rakyat expelled Khalid Ibrahim from membership of the party. The politicians and their allies are still squabbling in public about what effect this has on Khalid’s position, with outside “experts” and the media fanning the flames of controversy.

The power to decide lies is in the hands of the assembly members, the wakil rakyat. They have the power to vote. The Speaker has the power to set a date. It’s the law.

What’s holding them back?

  1. Shadaan permalink
    Sat 2014-Aug-16 @ MYT 12:26:48 pm 12:26

    Well if the speaker has the power to call a confidence motion then she should go ahead. This politicking is not fair to the people of Selangor. The affairs of the state are in stalemate and all the brokers are playing politics, including the Sultan.

    • uppercaise permalink*
      Sat 2014-Aug-16 @ MYT 12:36:03 pm 12:36

      She cannot call the motion itself – she can call the next meeting and allow the motion to be debated. It’s two steps but amounts to the same.

  2. Nick Lee permalink
    Sat 2014-Aug-16 @ MYT 13:52:12 pm 13:52

    Why do u have the PAS rep saying that to call a special sitting of the assembly , the consent of the Sultan is needed ?

    Sultan’s consent is not needed if its not a special sitting but thats not due till Nov.

    Either the PAS guy is wrong or you are wrong.

    • uppercaise permalink*
      Sat 2014-Aug-16 @ MYT 14:36:03 pm 14:36

      Ask him what law says that. The Standing Orders are posted above.

  3. Sat 2014-Aug-16 @ MYT 19:03:55 pm 19:03

    Why is Hannah Yeoh not moving? Waiting for BN to buy some PKR or DAP adun?
    Scared shit of the Sultan?

    • uppercaise permalink*
      Sat 2014-Aug-16 @ MYT 19:09:00 pm 19:09

      Aiyoh you ask like that, to make me write another article ah?🙂 They just want to force Khalid la, don’t you think?

  4. Nick Lee permalink
    Sat 2014-Aug-16 @ MYT 20:47:52 pm 20:47

    I think there is more to it than that. In the Harun Idris case, even when the special sitting was called to pass a no confidence vote against Harun , the then Sultan’s consent was obtained.

    Why was his consent to hold the special sitting then obtained when it was not required.

    • uppercaise permalink*
      Sat 2014-Aug-16 @ MYT 21:19:39 pm 21:19

      A special session requires royal consent. This is just an ordinary sitting.

    • Sat 2014-Aug-16 @ MYT 21:43:43 pm 21:43

      Also whether in the Harun case or not, I’ll just add that politicians say and do things for political reasons, as long as they comply with minimum requirements (and sometimes even when they don’t).

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