Mahathir confirms choice of ex-judge as Speaker

Mr Mohamad Ariff, a former Court of Appeal judge, will be nominated Speaker when Parliament convenes today.
Mr Mohamad Ariff, a former Court of Appeal judge, will be nominated Speaker when Parliament convenes today.PHOTO: BERNAMA

KUCHING • Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad yesterday confirmed that former Court of Appeal judge Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof would be nominated to be Parliament Speaker when the first session of the country's new Parliament convenes today.

The opening of the 14th Parliament will be a historic moment because for the first time in 60 years, the Barisan Nasional coalition will sit on the opposition bench, having been unseated by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance in the country's general election on May 9.

The proceedings on the first day will begin with Dr Mahathir tabling the first motion for the election of the Dewan Rakyat Speaker.

Dr Mahathir, who was in Kuching to attend a closed-door briefing on the development of Sarawak with the state's ministers, told reporters yesterday a candidate for the Speaker post had already been chosen.

"It will be announced soon. He is an ex-judge. Yes, he is Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof," he said.

Mr Mohamad Ariff had been tipped to be Speaker after the PH government said it wanted to nominate a retired judge, instead of a Member of Parliament, for the post to avoid bias.

The 69-year-old who hails from Kedah is well versed in commercial law, banking, securities and arbitration as well as constitutional and administrative law.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Law from University of London and started his career in 1974 as a law lecturer before becoming an associate professor at the University of Malaya's Law Faculty.

The father of five left the academic world in 1986 when he ventured into legal practice as an advocate and solicitor, becoming one of the founding partners of Cheang & Ariff.

From 1993 to 1995, he took leave from his legal practice to join the then newly formed Securities Commission of Malaysia and became its first Market Supervision Department director.

His judicial stint came in September 2008 when he was appointed as a judicial commissioner of the High Court of Malaya and was appointed within a year as a High Court judge in October 2009.

In September 2012, he became a judge of the Court of Appeal. He returned to Cheang & Ariff as a consultant after his retirement from the judiciary in early 2015.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2018, with the headline 'Mahathir confirms choice of ex-judge as Speaker'. Print Edition | Subscribe