KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 — Nominees to be the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of Parliament should not include those with unresolved criminal charges or scandals, said Tan Sri Rais Yatim.
The Dewan Negara president said in an Utusan Malaysia report today that this is to ensure the appointment of important figures within Parliament’s ranks truly reflect the integrity and principles of Parliament.
“That is the best option, although I do admit the principle of a person being innocent until the courts have decided must also be considered.
“With the case that could happen, a candidate for the Deputy Speaker’s role is currently waiting for a court decision, the best option is that he is not nominated. And the individual’s organisation must also reject it,” he was quoted saying in Utusan today.
This was amid speculation that Pontian MP and Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan is a frontrunner to be named as Deputy Speaker of Parliament, to fill a post vacated by his party colleague Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
The Malay daily also included how Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz previously affirmed that Umno’s higher-ups had a meeting with Ahmad to which the latter agreed to take on the role of Deputy Speaker.
Rais, in the report today, added how the appointment of such senior positions within the Parliament should be from among those with a clean record.
“The candidates for the Speaker or Deputy Speaker roles should not be from those facing court charges. This is so Malaysia will have a good name and the balance of the rule of law will be secured.
“That is why I said the individual’s organisation must also reject it because he is among the group who is currently facing a case in court, therefore the opportunity has to be given to someone else who is free from any charges in court,” said Rais.
Ahmad is facing charges of failing to declare RM2 million received from Datuk Seri Najib Razak to the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) and giving false statements to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
He recently claimed trial to the charges in the Kuala Lumpur High Court, offences of which carry punishments of a maximum of RM5 million, or imprisonment for up to five years if convicted.