M’sia to see first fe­male Par­lia­ment speaker

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KUCH­ING: Malaysians can ex­pect their first woman Par­lia­ment speaker in the na­tion’s his­tory come July 16 when the next par­lia­ment sit­ting com­mences.

This was hinted by Hu­man Re­sources Min­is­ter M. Ku­lasegaran in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with The Bor­neo Post’s sis­ter pa­per Ori­en­tal Daily in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day.

Ac­cord­ing to the Ipoh Barat MP, who is from Demo­cratic Ac­tion Party ( DAP), the an­nounce­ment on the new Par­lia­ment speaker – ex­pected by the end of this month – will sur­prise Malaysians.

De­spite sug­gest­ing that the new speaker is a woman, Ku­lasegaran said the per­son in ques­tion is nei­ther Se­puteh MP Teresa Kok nor Segam­but MP Han­nah Yeoh, both of DAP.

Yeoh was the coun­try’s first woman speaker when she was sworn in as Se­lan­gor State Leg­isla­tive As­sem­bly speaker in 2013.

On the com­ing par­lia­ment sit­ting, Ku­lasegaran said never once had he dreamed of be­ing seated on the right side of the speaker in the cham­ber, which is tra­di­tion­ally des­ig­nated for MPs from the rul­ing par­ties.

Hence, he said will al­ways bear in mind that he is now able to have a seat on the right side of the speaker thanks to the choice made by the peo­ple in the 14th gen­eral elec­tion.

“When I was first elected as an MP in 1997, party lead­ers told me that as an op­po­si­tion MP, I had to speak with­out fear or favour. Only by so do­ing could I rep­re­sent the peo­ple of this na­tion.”

Ku­lasegaran, who used to prac­tise law, said over the years, he had ob­tained a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing on how to help the B40 group in the na­tion, and is con­fi­dent that he would be able to fight for the wel­fare and in­ter­est of the group.

The B40 group refers to the bot­tom 40 per cent of house­holds with monthly in­come of RM3,900 and be­low.

“I am able to re­late to the needs of the B40 group as I was raised in a rub­ber plan­ta­tion site and lived in hard­ship.”

The 61-year- old said he wanted to show Malaysians that for as long as they are willing to take up the chal­lenge and learn to en­joy while climb­ing up the ca­reer lad­der, they can achieve more in life and may even end up be­com­ing a min­is­ter.

For Ku­lasegaran, his obli­ga­tion as a politi­cian is not just to his con­stituents or his min­istry, but for the af­fairs con­cern­ing the Indian com­mu­nity as well.

He said he will not rule out work­ing to­gether with the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) when it comes to en­hanc­ing the so­cial wel­fare and ben­e­fits of In­di­ans in the coun­try.

On his re­la­tion­ship with Prime Min­is­ter Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad, he said it was a ‘ foe­turned­friend’ sit­u­a­tion as Dr Ma­hathir was also prime min­is­ter – and head of Umno and Barisan Na­sional – when he (Ku­lasegaran) was first elected into par­lia­ment in 1997.

He de­scribed Dr Ma­hathir as a “93-year- old young man” who is not just de­voted to his role and duty, but a very ‘cal­cu­la­tive’ leader who makes ev­ery sen count.

“The prime min­is­ter is res­o­lute and com­mit­ted to mak­ing Malaysia great again,” said Ku­lasegaran, who show­cased his mul­ti­lin­gual­ism dur­ing the in­ter­view by also speak­ing in Man­darin, Can­tonese and even some words in Hokkien.

M. Ku­lasegaran

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