May 8, 2009 By CLARA CHOOI
Pix courtesy of Malaysiakini
IPOH: Perak Deputy Speaker Hee Yit Foong maintains she had the power to take over proceedings from ousted Speaker V. Sivakumar during Thursday’s controversial State Assembly.
“When the Speaker is unable to handle the proceedings and the Assembly reaches a deadlock, I have the power to take over.
“Article 36A(1)(b) of the Perak Constitution gives me that power,” she told a press conference here Friday.
Article 36A(1)(b) states: “The Legislative Assembly shall from time to time elect a Deputy Speaker from among members of the Legislative Assembly.”
The Jelapang assemblyman urged the public to understand that she was only doing her job when she took control of the House after Barisan Nasional assemblymen voted on a motion to sack Sivakumar on Thursday.
“I was only performing my rightful duties -- I neither abused my powers nor grabbed the Speaker’s power,” she claimed.
Meanwhile, other female assemblymen from Barisan who were present during the press conference said that the Speaker of the House was not above the law.
Hulu Kinta assemblyman Datuk Rusnah Kassim said Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen themselves admitted that the Speaker’s powers came from the legislative assembly.
“I do not deny that the Speaker has powers. But I asked the Opposition -- ‘Where does the powers of the Speaker come from?’ And they said that it came from the Dewan (House).
“Since the Speaker was elected by the majority of the House, his powers are also determined by the majority of the House, which Barisan has,” she said.
Sungai Rapat assemblyman Datuk Hamidah Osman said Sivakumar was only the Speaker because of the power given to him when the Pakatan had the majority in numbers in the House last year.
“Now that we (Barisan) have the majority, with 28 assemblymen and three supporting independents, we have the right to introduce a motion to remove him,” she said.
She added that Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir had lawfully used his powers under Standing Order 13(2) to move an emergency motion in the House without giving notice to the Speaker.
“The Speaker had no power to reject that motion -- the decision should be made by the Dewan in a democratic way,” she said.