Speaker Padikar Amin confirms Anwar Ibrahim as Opposition Leader.
PETALING JAYA: Minister in charge of parliamentary affairs Shahidan Kassim is Barisan Nasional’s new deputy whip, replacing Nazri Abdul Aziz, who is now the Culture and Tourism Minister.
By the ruling coalition’s convention, the deputy prime minister automatically becomes BN’s whip chief, whose main task is to ensure that backbenchers toe the party line and support all bills the government tables in Parliament.
Those who disobey the party whip face action from the party leadership. This was what happened to former MIC vice president S Sothinathan in 2005.
Sothinathan, who was then a deputy minister, was suspended from his duties for three months after he breached a party directive by criticising the government’s decision to withdraw its recognition of Crimea State Medical University.
PAS, PKR and DAP each has its own whip chief, but Pakatan Rakyat as a group does not.
PAS’s whip chief is party vice president Mahfuz Omar and PKR’s is its deputy president, Azmin Ali. DAP has appointed its national organising secretary, Anthony Loke, as its whip chief to replace Kepong MP Tan Seng Giaw.
PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim has been reappointed Opposition Leader although DAP won more seats in the last election than any other opposition party.
In confirming Anwar’s appointment, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia said the PKR leader had received unanimous support from Pakatan MPs.
“Based on the feedback I received, I am satisfied that Anwar Ibrahim received the unanimous support of the opposition members of parliament in the Dewan Rakyat for the post of opposition leader,” Pandikar said.
Anwar’s appointment to the post was foreshadowed on the day after the May 5 general election, when DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang announced that his party would support his candidacy.
Pakatan parties won 89 of the 222 seats in the Dewan Rakyat. DAP won 38, PKR 30 and PAS 21.