Azhar Harun Has No Party

Azhar Harun Has No Party

Azhar Harun: I Have Never Been Aligned To Any Party

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Harun denies having any political allegiance, be it to Pakatan Harapan (PH) or the ruling coalitions in the past two years.

While he said his opinions “coincided” with PH’s aims before the 2018 general election (GE14), he was “never” its supporter.

“It so happens that prior to GE14, what I wrote and what I spoke about coincided and was in synergy with what the PH people were talking about,” Azhar said in an interview with BFM today.

“I am not an Umno supporter, too. I don’t have any allegiances.”

He said he was with an Umno think tank in the 1990s, but only saw it as a job and nothing more.

Azhar, a lawyer and former rights activist, was appointed the Election Commission (EC) chairman in September 2018 after PH came into power.

He served as the EC chairman until June 2020 and was appointed as speaker in July 2020 after being nominated by then prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Asked if he was the right person to fill the role, he said he took the job because he thought he was up to it and had the “advantage of having friends from both sides”.

“I have friends from the government and really, really good friends from the opposition. So I thought I could be the bridge (between the two) during the tumultuous period,” he said.

On the challenges of the role of a speaker, Azhar said he held the position during a period that was filled with disappointment and, at times, even anger, from both sides.

While he had expected the accusations and allegations that were thrown at him, he said he was still not prepared for how bad it could get.

“The intensity (of the accusations) was a bit unexpected,” he said.

Asked how one could change the perception that the role of the speaker was linked to the government, Azhar said people’s thoughts could not be controlled.

“We cannot control their thoughts, we can only follow the law,” he said.

He also said that while the Federal Constitution details the separation of powers of the judiciary, executive and legislative branches, “in reality, they are almost connected”.

“This is not a problem in Malaysia alone, it is in all Westminster-based governments,” he said, adding that it would be difficult even for MPs to separate their powers as MPs and ministers.

Asked if he would enter politics in future, Azhar said he was not considering such a prospect, adding that he had not been formally approached by any party.

He also said he would remain the speaker until the next Parliament meeting after the 15th general election.

He is, however, uncertain if he will be appointed again by the new government.

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