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Azalina, first woman to hold Deputy Dewan Rakyat speaker’s post

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KUALA LUMPUR : Pengerang Member of Parliament (MP) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said made history as the first woman to hold the Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s post, effective Monday (July 13).

Azalina, 57, was elected after Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin tabled a motion proposing for the Johor-born MP to be appointed to serve as the Deputy Speaker in accordance with Standing Order 4(1) of the Dewan Rakyat.

Azalina, who holds a Masters of Laws (LLM) from the London School of Economics, Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from Universiti Malaya, and Diploma of Syariah Law from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), is replacing Teluk Intan MP Nga Kor Ming.

With extensive experience in handling civil claim cases related to corporate and commercial banking, Azalina was accepted into the Malaysian Bar Council in 1989 and had served as a special adviser for the government on women’s affairs.

She was also the first woman appointed as Youth and Sports Minister on March 30, 2004, before taking the helm of the Tourism Ministry in March 2008.

Azalina had also managed the Parliament affairs while she was the chairperson of the Parliamentary Women’s Caucus in 2013, and served as the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of law.

In politics, Azalina joined UMNO in 1990 at the age of 27 and after 10 years in the party, became the youngest woman ever to win a seat in the Supreme Council.

When Puteri UMNO was established in 2001, Azalina was entrusted with the responsibility to lead the new wing of UMNO as its first chief.

Azalina had also received several state awards, namely from Sabah, Selangor, Kedah, Perak and Pahang, which carry the tithe ‘Datuk’ dan ‘Datuk Seri’.

She had also received the Honorary Doctorate from the University of Southern Queensland Australia and appointed as Mentor Minister for Universiti Malaya (UM) for two year-term from 2016 to 2018.

“A woman Deputy Speaker proof govt does not discriminate based on gender” – Azalina

The appointment of a woman to hold the Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s post for the first time in history proves that the government of Malaysia does not discriminate based on gender, said Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

Instead, said the Pengerang Member of Parliament (MP), it demonstrated that the government would only look at qualifications.

“I view this as a good approach for Malaysia. Previously we know of a woman Deputy Speaker for Dewan Negara…we do have a woman Deputy Speaker for the Upper House (and) now (we have a woman Deputy Speaker) for the Lower House.

“I hope that this will be a start…maybe in the future (there) could even be (woman) speaker for both houses,” she told a media conference at the Parliament building here yesterday.

Azalina was elected as the new Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker yesterday following the tabling of a motion proposing for the Johor-born MP to be appointed to the post in accordance with Standing Order 4(1) of the Dewan Rakyat by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, to replace Teluk Intan MP Nga Kor Ming who had resigned.

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