Malaysia's Speaker 'was dissuaded from quitting'

Malaysia's Speaker 'was dissuaded from quitting'
Mr Pandikar Amin Mulia admitted yesterday at a press conference that he had planned to resign from his post but withdrew his resignation after a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Parliamentary Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia, in an about- turn, said he had handed in his resignation letter but was persuaded to stay on after Prime Minister Najib Razak promised to fix the way Parliament works.

On Sunday, Tan Sri Pandikar denied telling Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad he had quit, saying he had voiced only his frustrations to the former premier. Dr Mahathir had told reporters about the resignation on Saturday.

"Mahathir didn't lie... I didn't lie... it is true I had resigned and sent my letter to the Prime Minister," Mr Pandikar told a press conference at his home yesterday.

He dismissed reports that said he quit because of "the lack of a toilet or the furnishings in his office". The reason, he said, was "my desire to strengthen the Parliament of Malaysia to be on a par with first-class Parliaments of the world".

Mr Pandikar added that Mr Najib had asked for time to make the changes he wanted, such as doing away with the post of minister of parliamentary affairs so as to keep the powers of the legislative and the executive separate.

"If what I have suggested is not implemented by the executive in the remainder of this Parliament's term, I will resubmit my resignation," he warned.

Dr Mahathir has criticised Mr Najib's leadership and said the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) would lose power in the next general election if he does not step down.

When Mr Najib visited Sabah, where Mr Pandikar is from, on May 10, he said he "owed" the state for its overwhelming support.

The state was the best performer for BN in the 2013 general election, and Parliament would have been hung without the 22 seats it supplied to the ruling coalition.

"There are people who want to weaken BN's 'fixed deposit'. But we have many warriors (leaders from Sabah) who are brave, principled and sturdy," Mr Najib was quoted as saying by Bernama news agency.

He also said he was impressed with Mr Pandikar.

This article was first published on May 20, 2015.
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