Kedah rep confirms on Speaker shortlist

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KUALA LUMPUR — Sungai Petani MP and Gurun assemblyman Datuk Johari Abdul confirmed yesterday he has been shortlisted as a candidate for the Dewan Rakyat speaker’s post, saying he was informed about it on Tuesday night.

The PKR politician also confirmed he will have to vacate his state seat if he is appointed speaker.

Under Article 57(4) of the Federal Constitution, an assemblyman who is elected Dewan Rakyat speaker must “resign from the assembly before exercising the functions of his office”.

“Yes, I have been informed by the leadership about it. I have been shortlisted. I believe there are a few more candidates,” Johari told Malay Mail.

“If I am selected, I will have to vacate the (Gurun) seat, yes. But we will cross the bridge when we come to it.”

Johari is a three-term PKR federal lawmaker and party chief whip.

In a statement yesterday, lawyer and PKR vice-president N. Surendran criticised Johari’s selection, saying it would trigger an unnecessary by-election and public costs.

“A by-election is no small matter; it will be held at heavy cost to the public. Further, it will be grossly unfair to the voters of Gurun, who have just gone to the polls and elected their state representative,” Surendran said.

“Triggering a by-election is quite unnecessary, as there are many other qualified candidates who can instead be nominated for the job of speaker by Pakatan Harapan (PH).”

Surendran said that although PH had formed the Kedah state government, the state assembly was deadlocked with 18 PH and 18 PAS and Umno representatives.

“Plunging into an avoidable by-election in Gurun would be a risky and unwise move by PH, given the already precarious balance of power,” he said.