Tuesday 3 February 2009

Disgusting Trend in Malaysian Politics: Election Commission is MORE POWERFUL than the People's State Assembly

Read here in Malaysiakini and here for more

Sultan of Perak,
Raja Azlan Shah

We say ,

This is not the time for the Perak Royal Household to stand aside in the affairs of the people of Perak.

This deadlock between a Federal institution and the Perak people's assembly is getting ridiculous and totally out of hand.

The will of the people of Perak through the Perak State Assembly must be enforced and respected by public-funded institutions, such as the Election Commision, which were created as servants of the people.

Malaysians are simply fed-up to the hilt knowing the EC had been deeply politicised far too long by the UMNO-led Government, thus making Malaysian democracy into a big farce.

We therefore earnestly call upon His Royal Highness the Sultan of Perak, and as a matter of great urgency, to directly engage in the political process to prevent the worsening of the chaotic state of affairs in His Highness's realm.

His Royal Highness MUST intervene, and intervene rightly on the side of his subjects. Daulat Tuanku !
-Malaysian Unplug

According to Malaysiakini's report, the Election Commission (EC) announced that by-elections were NOT necessary for the state seats of Changkat Jering and Behrang as there were doubts on the resignation letters submitted by the representatives.

This is despite the fact that the EC had received the resignations letter of the duo from the Perak speaker V Sivakumar on Feb 2. The EC chairperson Abdul Aziz Yusuf said,

"There exist doubts over the validity of the resignation letters submitted by the Perak state assembly speaker given the fact that the incumbents for both state constituencies had, with total realisation, submitted letters to discount both the submitted resignation letters as invalid.

As such, EC decided that it will not be able to call for by-elections. The two seats are still held by the two state representatives."

Yet, ex-chairman of the Election Commission Tan Sri Rashid Rahman said the EC has NO choice but to call for by-elections in the next 60 days, commenting on news reports that Perak State Assembly Speaker, V Sivakumar, had informed the state EC director this morning of the vacancies in the Behrang and Changkat Jering state seats held by PKR representatives. Read here for more

Tan Sri Rashid said,

“That is the requirement under the Federal Constitution.

The Election Commission is in NO position to question why.”

Tan Sri Rashid, who retired last year at 66, has almost 25 years experience in the EC.

Rashid explained in the case of Perak, the question of political loyalties, fuelled by the narrow margin of one coalition over another is casting a shadow of doubt over the confidence in the ability of the incumbent government to lead.

He said the dramatic situation in Perak has no precedent because Malaysia has never before had an opposition coalition ruling the state.

In an extreme situation, the Ruler will have to decide to dissolve the state legislative assembly and call for fresh elections to restore order in the state.

Tan Sri Rashid added,

“If he, the Sultan, feels that the state party in power needs a new mandate from the people, then it is for the Ruler to consider.

There is NO other way a stable government can be formed in Perak.”


No two ways about it: DISSOLVE the Perak State Assembly

From Raja Petra Kamarudin in Malaysia-Today

Read here for more


I hope Pakatan Rakyat can see the logic of dissolving the Perak State Assembly so that fresh state elections can be held. That would be the only way to hold on to Perak.

However, to dissolve the Perak State Assembly, Pakatan Rakyat must first obtain the consent of the Sultan of Perak.

Will the Sultan give his consent? Many feel the answer is no.

Therefore Pakatan Rakyat will be ‘locked’ with a one-seat majority that may turn out to be a one-seat minority in the very near future.

Today, the Elections Commission rejected the resignation letters of the Changkat Jering and Behrang State Assemblymen. This means they can now join Barisan Nasional -- so Barisan Nasional will now have 29 seats against Pakatan Rakyat’s 30. All Barisan Nasional needs is just one more cross-over from Pakatan Rakyat and they will form the new Perak state government. This not only can happen. It most likely will happen.

Pakatan Rakyat has no other choice. It has to dissolve the Perak State Assembly and call for fresh state elections. Note one thing here. It is not actually Barisan Nasional versus Pakatan Rakyat.

It is Umno versus Pakatan Rakyat. From the 29 seats that Barisan Nasional now has, 28 are from Umno and only one from MCA -- with NONE from the other 12 Barisan Nasional component members.

Pakatan Rakyat started out with 31 seats in the Perak State Assembly against Barisan Nasional’s 28. This means if just two Pakatan Rakyat State Assemblymen cross over, Barisan Nasional would have 30 seats against Pakatan Rakyat’s 29. This would also mean Barisan Nasional will form the new Perak state government with a majority of one seat.

While Barisan Nasional was working on these two ‘candidates’ to cross over -- the Changat Jering and Behrang State Assemblyman -- one Umno State Assemblyman crossed over to Pakatan Rakyat. Now, Barisan Nasional needs three Pakatan Rakyat State Assemblymen to cross over instead of just two.

If fresh state elections are held, Pakatan Rakyat may sweep at least 40 seats, leaving Umno with just 19 seats. MCA, MIC, Gerakan and PPP will not win a single seat.

That is why Umno would not want fresh state elections, or even two by-elections. If they allow this to happen they will get wiped out and Pakatan Rakyat will increase its margin of seats even more. With a 21-seat majority it will be impossible for Barisan Nasional to continue dreaming about taking over Perak.
-Raja Petra Kamarudin

BN will not win from Perak defections

From Dr Wong Chin Huat of Monash University Sunway Campus

Read here for more


If the Perak Pakatan Rakyat government is brought down through defections, this may, in fact, hasten an early demise for the BN and its federal government.

On one condition: that a snap poll for Perak — what a majority of democratic governments would opt for in the face of a no-confidence vote — is called by the state government.

A referendum on Umno

Should this happen, the BN's chance of winning Perak is really slimmer than a sheet of paper.

The existing party and ethnic breakdown of the current Perak state legislative assembly is telling. The Pakatan Rakyat's current 32 seats consists of DAP's 18, PKR's eight and PAS's six. On the BN's side, 26 out of 27 lawmakers are from Umno. The 27th BN lawmaker is from the MCA.

Ethnically, the Pakatan Rakyat has 22 non-Malay Malaysian representatives (all of DAP's 18 and four of PKR's) and 10 Malay representatives, in sharp contrast to the BN's 26 Malay Malaysians and one non-Malay. That could mean there are 36 Malay-majority seats and 23 non-Malay majority or mixed seats in Perak.

However, PAS Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin (holding the Pasir Panjang seat), and PKR's assemblyperson for Behrang, Jamaluddin, both won in seats that were traditionally contested by the MIC, seats which are non-Malay-majority or mixed seats. Thus there are actually two fewer, or 34, Malay-majority seats and two more, or 25, non-Malay-majority or mixed seats in Perak.

If a snap poll was called for, how would the Malay and non-Malay Malaysian electorate vote?

There is no legitimate ground for a vote of no-confidence against the current Pakatan Rakyat state government. Except for the corruption charges against Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman, the Pakatan Rakyat is not implicated in any major scandal of corruption, power abuse or incompetence.

If anything, the Pakatan Rakyat government, which prides itself for its "inexperience in corruption", has scored with flying colours. Even on a financial note, its 2008 revenue has increased by RM97 million, or a whopping 15%, from 2007.

Hence, a snap election would actually be a referendum on whether Perak voters should reinstall or reject an Umno-dominated government.

What has Umno done since 8 March to win back non-Malay Malaysians?


If anything, provocative statements by the likes of Datuk Ahmad Ismail and Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, and worsening police violence have created more bad press for Umno and the BN.

At the same time, it would be fatal self-deceit if the BN actually thinks that the retention of Chinese Malaysian votes in the recent Kuala Terengganu by-election can be repeated elsewhere.
So, there is a good chance that the BN will lose all the 25 non-Malay-majority and mixed seats in a snap poll. This would send a strong signal to all Umno's non-Malay allies: the end is nigh. Stay in the BN and you will sink with Umno because of the electorate's wrath. That would give little incentive to these allies to continue remaining in the BN.

But what about the Malay-majority seats? If the Pakatan Rakyat sweeps away all the 25 non-Malay-majority and mixed seats, it would only need another five seats to form a simple majority government. Hence, to stop Pakatan Rakyat, Umno must prevent the Pakatan from winning another five Malay seats.

Has the Pakatan Rakyat government done so badly in meeting the needs and aspirations of the Malay Malaysian electorate that it cannot keep even five out of its current eight Malay-majority seats?

In reality, PKR and PAS will not only keep the five Malay-majority seats they need to remain in power, they are also likely to make inroads into Umno heartland.

How? Just sing Umno's tune of Malay unity. If a Pakatan Rakyat state government in Perak is a given because of the non-Malay Malaysian voters, the choices left for Malay Malaysian voters are straightforward: vote PKR or PAS for stronger Malay representation in government, or vote Umno for a stronger Malay opposition.

Faced with that kind of choice, isn't it obvious Malay Malaysian voters will vote for the Pakatan Rakyat to ensure they are strongly represented in government?

A worse scenario

A worse outcome is that Umno manages to deny PKR and PAS those crucial five Malay seats. Imagine this scenario: Umno wins 30 Malay seats, while the Pakatan Rakyat takes the 25 non-Malay or mixed seats and the remaining four Malay seats.

While Umno would then claim that Malay Malaysians have returned to its fold, the Pakatan Rakyat would likely undermine such claims by producing evidence of alleged electoral fraud, especially with the likely wafer-thin victories in most of the Malay seats; and by organising protests or acts of civil disobedience.

Meanwhile, an all-Malay government is something Malaysians have not ever experienced. And Umno cannot count on the defection of non-Malay Malaysian lawmakers from the Pakatan Rakyat opposition who would fear the electorate's wrath more than anything. No less because such a defection would be seen as a sell-out in an environment that is profoundly anti-Umno. And unlike Sabah in 1994, the next federal government need not be Umno-led. These factors will surely influence the calculation of possible defectors.

As we can imagine, a Perak under Umno would likely be ungovernable given the inevitable strong opposition from half of the Malay and almost all of the non-Malay Malaysians in the state. In such a situation, the federal government may even call for a state of emergency if opposition to an Umno-led state government starts to become messy.

But whether this happens or not, Umno would lose its "stability" appeal, something it has held on to even during the Reformasi years. Voting Umno would then be associated with voting for chaos.

Do we need to ask how voters would then vote during the 13th general election?

The best scenario

The best scenario for the BN to form the next state government is to bring down the current one through defections to its side, instead of going through a snap poll.

But that would require Perak MB Nizar not requesting for the state assembly's dissolution for snap polls to be held. Or it would require Sultan Azlan Shah rejecting such a request if it was made.

But why would Nizar hand over his government to his enemies? And why would the well-respected Perak Sultan sacrifice his reputation of benevolence, modernity and unity to save Umno?

As Stephen Covey states in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, begin with the end in mind. That's good advice to political parties before they start playing with fire
-Dr Wong Chin Huat

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