PH-BN plans to elect a non-ADUN as Selangor Speaker, but is this even legal? Here’s everything you need to know
The campaigning period for the 2023 State Elections (PRN) is now underway, with all political parties now in full ‘battle mode’ to win voters’ support. Involving all Malaysian states which didn’t dissolve their respective Legislative Assemblies (DUN) during or prior to the 15th General Election (GE15), this PRN won’t affect the government at the federal level but only the establishment of the state governments of six states, namely Selangor, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Negeri Sembilan and Penang.
One of the more interesting legal questions that have popped up regarding this PRN involves the Selangor DUN, specifically on the election of its Speaker. This is after the incumbent Pakatan Harapan (PH) Selangor state government revealed prior to PRN that its candidate for the Speaker role is former Banting ADUN Lau Weng San; part of an agreement between DAP and Barisan Nasional for the former to give the Dusun Tua seat to the latter.
During the announcement on 24 July 2023, some quarters questioned the legality of this move, as Lau is not contesting this PRN. In other words, should the PH-BN coalition win in Selangor, the Speaker would not be an ADUN; a first in the state.
So, can a non-ADUN be elected as the Speaker of the Selangor DUN? Well, join us as we dive into the relevant laws and conventions to find out.
Laws of the Constitution of Selangor 1959
In order to answer this legal query, the most relevant legislation has got to be the fundamental law of the state, which is the Constitution of the State of Selangor 1959. Accordingly, Article 71 of the Selangor Constitution prescribes the election of the Speaker and the role’s functions.
Article 71 of the Selangor Constitution is as below:
Based on the above, Article 71(1A) deals specifically with the election of the Speaker, whereby the individual must either be an ADUN or qualified to be an ADUN. Hence, according to the Selangor Constitution, a non-ADUN can in fact be elected to the Speaker role, given that he or she is qualified to become an ADUN in the Selangor DUN.
This is governed under Article 63 of the Selangor Constitution, which prescribes that in order to qualify as a Selangor ADUN, an individual has to be:
- A Malaysian citizen aged over 18 years old
- A resident of the state of Selangor
- Not disqualified for being a member by the Federal Constitution
- Not disqualified by Article 64 of the Selangor Constitution
For reference, here is Article 64 of the Selangor Constitution:
Meanwhile, Article 71(1B) elaborated on the requirement for a non-ADUN to be elected as Speaker. The clause prescribes for the individual to take and subscribe before the DUN an oath of office before he enters upon the duties of the office.
Besides that, the clause added that by virtue of holding the Speaker role, the individual will automatically be an additional member of the Assembly to the members elected to the DUN. However, despite being an additional member of the DUN, the Speaker won’t be entitled to vote on any matter before the Assembly.
Hence, according to the above provisions of the Selangor Constitution, PH-BN’s candidate for Speaker, Lau is definitely qualified and can legally hold the role.
Moving forward, it’d be interesting to see the dynamics of the Selangor DUN should the PH-BN coalition win the state this PRN. More importantly, for those of you eligible to vote in this PRN, make sure to exercise your duty as a citizen and make your voice heard.