Kuala Lumpur—The beginning of Monday’s (July 13) Dewan Rakyat sitting in Kuala Lumpur saw the confirmation of Anwar Ibrahim as the new opposition leader in Parliament.
Mr Anwar is the head of the People’s Justice Party (PKR) and the MP from Port Dickson, as well as the chairman of the Pakatan Harapan (PH). According to speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, Mr Anwar has the support of the majority.
Free Malaysia Today quotes the speaker as saying, “Based on the feedback I received, I am satisfied that Anwar has the support of the opposition members to be appointed as opposition leader.”
News that Mr Anwar had returned as the leader of the opposition was announced in the media shortly after 10:00 on Monday morning.
Dewan Rakyat begins its sitting with speaker of parliament Mohd Ariff Md Yusof presiding . He’s just announced the appointment of Anwar Ibrahim as opposition parliamentary chief . pic.twitter.com/WrpBJRRNCi
— Melissa Goh (@MelGohCNA) July 13, 2020
Mr Ariff also said that in light of the coronavirus pandemic, a new seating arrangement is being implemented at the Dewan Rakyat. He pointed out that a number of the legislators are considered to be at an increased risk for Covid-19, since 87 of them are over the age of 60.
Under the new scheme, 174 MPs will sit one meter apart. Backbenchers are to occupy the public gallery, and some members of the opposition will sit in the officers’ gallery.
Mr Anwar asked that microphones be placed for the lawmakers’ convenience in the public gallery and officers area so that they can be heard during the sessions.
The opposition leader said earlier that he is open to working with anyone, including former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
There is nothing “personal” in their disagreements, The Daily Express quoted him as saying, and that he would work with “Anyone, including Tun, if we can agree (on things), then we can proceed.”
Mr Anwar said that the opposition would unite against the removal of Mr Arif and Deputy Speaker Nga Kor Ming, a motion for which has been submitted by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, whose bloc would like to install Azhar Azizan Harun and Azalina Othman Said as Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively.
The opposition leader said that the stand against this is “based on the rule of law as this has never been done in the history of the Commonwealth and our history (to replace a sitting speaker).
Any replacement only happens when there is a vacancy or a speaker resigns.”
He asserted that there is “absolutely no basis to change the speaker mid-course” and called upon all the legislators to protect the sanctity of Parliament. -/TISG