Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Perak : It's now Speaker vs Speaker

Following a court ruling that Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir is the rightful Mentri Besar of Perak, the feud between rival coalitions Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat has now shifted to the chair of the state legislative assembly Speaker.

While deposed MB Nizar Jamaluddin had said he accepted the Feb 9 decision of the Federal Court, his side continues to reject Barisan-appointed R Ganesan as the state legislative Speaker.

The Pakatan Rakyat state assemblymen, therefore, are ignoring a notice from Ganesan calling for an assembly sitting on March 30.

As far as Nizar and his band are concerned, the Perak state legislature has only one Speaker - and that is Tronoh assemblyman V Sivakumar.

Despite the court allowing Zambry to retain the MB's post legal suits are still pending over some side-issues.

In particular is Sivakumar’s suit against the Election Commission and two former PKR assemblymen - Jamaluddin Radzi (Behrang) and Mohd Osman Jailu (Changkat Jering) - and former DAP assemblyman Hee Yit Foong (Jelapang).

"If we attend the sitting on March 30, it would appear that we are accepting Ganesan, which we do not.

"For us to go, Sivakumar must be the one to issue the notices and if we did that, we might be accused of trying to create havoc at the sitting.

"So we have to be careful,” Nizar, the state assemblyman for Pasir Panjang, told news portal Harakahdaily.

The Pakatan coalition, comprising the DAP, PKR and PAS, is due to meet in Ipoh on Friday to decide on their next course of action regarding the matter.

Defections toppled Pakatan govt

The Barisan's takeover of the Perak government continues to be seen by the Pakatan side as an unpopular power grab - a coup d'etat - engineered by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak (when he was deputy to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in February last year).

The three assemblymen who ditched their parties helped the Barisan muster a slim three-seat majority over Pakatan in the 59-seat assembly.

nizar-zambryFollowing an audience with Najib, who reasoned that the Barisan now commanded the majority in the state assembly, Sultan Azlan Shah asked Nizar to step down as MB and swore in Zambry in his place.

Nizar did not tender his resignation to the ruler and pursued the matter in the courts.

For a brief spell, he was reinstated as the legitimate mentri besar by the High Court on May 11 last year.

However, it was back to Zambry when the Court of Appeal allowed Zambry's appeal and declared that his appointment as Perak mentri besar was constitutional.

Ahead of the defections of the 'rebel trio', Bota assemblyman Nasarudin Hashim had shocked his Barisan colleagues by announcing he was hopping to the PKR on the Pakatan side.

The Perak Umno chief at that time, former MB Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali, resigned over Nasaruddin's party shift and Najib took over the post. After only about a week in the PKR camp, Nasaruddin returned to Umno and the Barisan.

In the meantime, Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman went missing from the House and Sivakumar declared their seats vacant. He duly informed the Election Commission and asked that by-elections be held for the two seats.

On Feb 2 last year, after a few days of being 'missing', the two assemblymen reappeared and declared themselves independent assemblymen. At the same time they pledged their support for the Barisan.

Series of battles over Speaker's authority

The EC then decided to not heed Sivakumar's request and stated that no fresh elections would be held in Behrang and Changkat Jering, the seats held by the two reps.

A day later, Hee, appointed by the Pakatan administration as Deputy Speaker, quit the DAP and also declared to be a Barisan-friendly independent.

The newly-installed Barisan government allowed her to retain her position as Deputy Speaker but rejected Sivakumar as the Speaker.

What followed, besides the fight over the MB's post between the two sides, was a series of battles over the authority of the Speaker, which implicated the EC, the State Secretariat office and the courts.

Assembly under a 'democratic tree'

At one juncture, the Pakatan assemblymen were forced to adjourn to a nearby tree and, at that emergency sitting, Sivakumar used his Speaker's power to suspend Zambry for 18 months and six of his Barisan colleagues for 12 months for alleged contempt of the assembly.

perak-speakersIn April last year, at about the time when the Abdullah was passing the PM's baton to Najib, the Federal Court ruled the EC and not the assembly Speaker had the power to declare the Behrang, Changkat Jering and Jelapang seats vacant.
It also ruled the three independent reps could keep their respective seats.

In another ruling, the court also decided that Sivakumar did not have the power to suspend Zambry and the six Barisan executive council members from attending the state ssembly.

There was a commotion at the state assembly sitting on May 7 last year when Sivakumar refused to start proceedings for as long Zambry, the six Barisan executive councillors and the three Independent assemblymen were in the House.

The police then moved in to carry Sivakumar forcibly away from his seat.

In a corner of the hall, Ganesan, the former Sungai state assemblyman, took his oath as Speaker.— Malaysian Mirror

1 comment:

Chauncey Gardener said...

Does the EC have the executive power to declare seat vacent ?

Isn't the EC an administrative body ?