Dewan Rakyat Speaker says prefers ‘soft but persuasive’ method while on the job

Jerry Choong
Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof says the Speaker does not have to be overtly-strict like a headmaster, since all the parliamentarians understand their roles. — Picture by MIera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — Water is “soft” but it can also erode rock, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof has replied to public perception that he has been soft in dealing with misbehaving MPs.

He said since all 222 members of the House are adults, he can only hope they remember the rules of conduct when in the hall.

“The Speaker does not have to be overtly-strict like a headmaster, since all the parliamentarians understand their roles,” Ariff told Mingguan Malaysia in an exclusive interview.

He was asked to comment on whether he should take a more firm stance including suspending or ordering out recalcitrant MPs from the Dewan.

“If the situation warrants it then an expulsion from the Dewan is necessary, unless the MP in question genuinely retracts the remarks and apologises the first time round.

“Were it to occur a second or third time, there are several steps to observe. But I have already made a ruling so the MPs must refer to that in any case,” Ariff said.

When asked to compare between his experienced as the Speaker and to his previous occupation as a court judge, he said the latter is more difficult with a heavier workload.

“I am frank in saying this [why being Speaker is easier] since it is his job to control the situation, be impartial, give everyone a chance to debate, and forward the day’s motions and orders politely.

“The Speaker is powerless in deciding [legislative] policy or to debate, hence the need to see the role within this context. This is compared to a judge who has to examine statements, evidence, and arguments before weighing in on the law and coming to a decision,” Ariff said.

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