KUALA LUMPUR: Former Election Commission chairman Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun has been elected as the new Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat.
Azhar Azizan, 58, better known as Art Harun, was born on Oct 26, 1962 in Kedah and holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the Universiti Malaya and a Master of Laws from King’s College, University of London.
He then launched his legal career in 1987 at Allen & Gledhill. He also served at several leading legal firms, including, Messrs Khaw & Hussain; Messrs TH Su & Partners; Messrs Lamin & Co; Messrs Hisham Sobri & Kadir; Messrs Shafee & Co, and Messrs KH Koh, Azhar & Koh.
On Sept 9, last year, he was conferred the Darjah Panglima Jasa Negara (PJN) which carries the title of ‘Datuk’, by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah in conjunction with His Majesty’s official birthday.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has tabled two separate motions, to appoint Azhar Azizan and Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said to replace Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof and his deputy Nga Kor Ming as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively, in today’s Parliament sitting.
Azhar Azizan who was appointed as EC chairman on Sept 21, 2018, replacing Tan Sri Mohd Hashim Abdullah, has tendered his resignation on June 29.
His deputy Dr Azmi Sharom will carry out duties as EC chairman until a new chief is appointed.
During his tenure at EC, Azhar Azizan has implemented a number of reforms in the country’s electoral system including online voter registration which began this year.
Other reforms include introducing voter’s card, providing facilities for disabled and elderly voters as well as live-streaming of the vote counting process on Facebook.
Most recent was his involvement before the Chini state seat by-election in Pahang on July 4, which was held under the new normal and strict standard operating procedures following the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.