Third deputy speaker a very bad idea

Let us all say it out loud – we must stop creating new posts just because it is politically expedient to do so.

The proposal for a third deputy speaker in the Dewan Rakyat is not because there is a pressing need for an extra hand but because of the need to please politicians – in this case, the opposition, as the new post is meant for their bloc.

How do I know that there is no urgent need for a third speaker? Because up till the impending election for the second deputy speaker’s post, no one had brought up the matter.

This would also not be an issue at all if Azalina Othman Said (BN-Pengerang) did not resign as the second deputy speaker. It would have been status quo on the Parliament chair today.

No one would be talking about the burden of the job for the speaker and his two deputies. No vacancy means no fight. The problem arose only because of the existing vacancy.

Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said

Why was the extra post suddenly necessary? Was it because since the government and opposition are now more cordial and friendly after the memorandum of understanding (MOU), they can just create more positions to placate or pacify each other?

Isn’t this what it is all about? We have been talking about institutional reforms, including parliamentary reforms. What a start for reforming Parliament! Create an unnecessary post right at the top, to begin with.

This is something that should not have happened. Otherwise, the government-opposition pact is seen as an opportunity to benefit the politicians and not the people. This seems to be the case with the third deputy speaker proposal.

Whatever is decided in Parliament is always about the MPs themselves, and not about the rakyat, isn’t it? This third deputy speaker issue is a glaring example.

Let us not beat around the bush. The third deputy speaker is a very bad idea because the new post is not only not urgent but totally unnecessary.

Last week, Parliament decided to hit a pause on the deputy speaker race, in order to create a third post for the opposition.

De facto Law Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar explained that “there are some parties asking the government to create a third deputy speaker position that will be reserved to the opposition.

“The Constitution doesn’t say who will be the deputy speaker… we will create a rule, maybe, so that one of the speakers is from the opposition,” he told the Dewan Rakyat.

Not surprisingly, the motion to postpone the election was passed by a voice vote.

Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan (left) and Teluk Intan MP Nga Kor Ming

So, Ahmad Maslan (Umno-Pontian) and the opposition’s Nga Kor Ming (DAP-Teluk Intan) will likely be the second and third deputy speakers respectively.

Need I explain who loses and who gains in this case?

The MP who is already paid a salary, allowances and perks gets another salary as deputy speaker. He will probably get a car and a driver and another two supporting staff.

Who pays them? The taxpayers. Who are the taxpayers? You and I. So who gains and who loses?

Creating a third deputy speaker post is an added burden to our public purse but do those in power care?

Here is an example of how our leaders waste money on creating unnecessary new posts for their friends or supporters.

Details of Ahmad Faizal Azumu’s (PN-Tambun) income during his short stint as the special advisor to former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin was revealed in the Dewan Rakyat.

In a parliamentary reply last week, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Faizal was paid a pro-rata salary of his monthly income amounting to RM27,227.20 and a replacement for termination of service notice with one month’s salary.

How long did Faizal serve in the post? Just 11 days (Aug 5-16) and he was paid over RM27,000 for it. No wonder many elected representatives will never step down voluntarily. Why should they when they had it so good?

To be honest, I would be very ashamed to receive such a big pay-out for just 11 days of service and for work that I never carried out.

Youth and Sports Minister Ahmad Faizal Azumu

Any well-meaning leader would have returned the sum to the government. I didn’t hear that from Faizal which is a big let-down considering that he is now the youth and sports minister. Talk about being exemplary to our young people.

So this is where we are. Ismail Sabri already has 69 ministers and deputy ministers and a coterie of key appointees carrying ministerial status.

I don’t think he will stop creating new posts for his allies. Sabah’s Star has yet to be given a post. Their previous deputy minister’s post was rescinded.

Finally, let me quote from a Malaysiakini reader who also speaks for me and I believe many others too:

“Not even a hundred deputy speakers in Parliament would compensate for the narrow-minded bigotry of those in power.

“This country has become consumed with drawing up legislation to address the undeniable problems which arise from the appallingly low standards of the people attracted to politics as a career”.

Low standard or low class. So true when we have to pay RM27,000 to a politician for 11 days work as a so-called adviser.

And very soon for a third deputy speaker too; whatever for?