Puad can learn from spat with Hasni, say observers
JOHOR Speaker Ahmad Puad Zarkashi could learn a thing or two from his quarrel with former menteri besar Hasni Mohammad, political observers said.
Hasni’s admonishment on social media of Puad, who is new at his job, should be taken constructively, they added.
Hasni, who is the Benut assemblyman, took issue with Puad’s speech when he told assemblyman to uphold the dignity of the House, focus on developing the state, and not tarnish the assembly by behaving like primates in a cage.
Hasni said such words were unbecoming of a speaker.
A Johor Umno division chief says Hasni’s admonishment should be taken as advice from a more experienced elected representative.
Hasni has been an elected representative since 2004, when he was elected Pontian MP. He has kept the seat for four terms.
Puad was Batu Pahat MP for a term and a deputy minister. He had never been a assemblyman until the Johor polls last month when he won the Rengit seat, after which he was made speaker.
“Hasni is speaking as someone who had been in the legislative assembly for a long time,” said the division leader, who wished to remain anonymous.
“The spat is a small family matter . What Hasni said is true, that as politicians, we should have more decorum when speaking in the House,” he added.
It’s all in the family, the division leader said, because Umno now controls the Johor assembly by a more than two-thirds majority.
Political analyst Awang Azman Awang Pawi said issue is not a sign of discord as the party prepares for the general election.
Hasni might have felt he had the right to speak as a former menteri besar, Awang Azman said, while Puad was only repeating the phrase “sangkar beruk” (monkey cage) that was used by the Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar in his address at the legislative assembly sitting last August.
“I don’t think this is a big issue nor does it need to be blown up. As a former MB, Hasni of course wants the state administration to excel.
“So it is not surprising that he would speak out when he feels something could be improved; this may cause him to appear critical,” said the Universiti Malaya academician.
Hasni was named Barisan Nasional’s menteri besar candidate in Johor election campaign.
However, he was suddenly replaced by Machap assemblyman Onn Hafiz Ghazi, the grandson of Umno founder Onn Jaafar. It was speculated that this was because the Johor palace wished it so.
Mazlan Ali, of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, saw Hasni’s criticism of Puad as positive.
“Hasni has always been seen as a well-spoken, gracious menteri besar. He is a mature leader,” said Mazlan.
“The speaker does not need to respond to everything, especially matters that can cause ill feelings. Just focus on the work that needs to be done.
He said Hasni could have felt that his hopes and aspirations for Johor, as its former menteri besar, were in danger of being derailed .
Puad became speaker at the Johor assembly’s first sitting of the new term on April 21.
Semarang assemblyman Samsol Bari Jamali is deputy speaker.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT