Sunday 15 February 2009

Perak Crisis Will Deepen: DAP Sivakumar as Speaker of State Assembly Cannot Be Sacked Despite Pakatan Rakyat Losing Government

Read here article by Neville Spykerman in Malaysian Insider


In Perak, Barisan Nasional is stuck with the Speaker of the Legislative State Assembly from Pakatan Rakyat/DAP.

DAP's V. Sivakumar confirmed he remained the Speaker of the Perak State Sssembly.

Perak is set to continue with its constitutional deadlock despite the sacking of Pakatan Rakyat's MB, Nizar Jamaluddin by the Sultan of Perak.

That is because there is NO provision in the Perak State Constitution for REMOVAL of the Speaker of State Assembly, unlike that in the Federal and Selangor State Constitution through a vote of no confidence, according to Selangor Speaker Teng Chang Khim, who is a lawyer himself.

DAP Sivakumar can only be removed from office as Speaker when:
  • He ceases to be a member of the Perak Legislative Assembly, in other words he is no more the State Assemblyman for the seat of Tronoh.

  • He is disqualified from holding other office, or

  • He resigns on his own accord.
Instability of the Perak State Government will continue despite the formation of the new government under Barisan Nasional under the Perak Sultan's appointed Menteri Besar, Zambry Abdul Kadir.

Sivakumar as Speaker of the State Assembly can effectively reduce BN's majority in the following situations :
  1. Preventing the the 3 former Pakatan Rakyat defectors, to enter the State Assembly because they have "resigned" from the assembly. The Perak Speaker had previously declared that assemblymen Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi, Osman Jailu and Hee Yit Foong had vacated their seats after he received their resignation letters.That will result with BN having 28 members in the House to PR's 27, with DAP Sivakumar as speaker.

    When asked whether he would bar the three independents from entering the Dewan when the August house sits, Sivakumar told the press,
    "The three ceased to be Perak state assembly members when I submitted their resignation letters to the Election Commission."
    Even if the 3 defectors go to court and win their case, that will not the fact that Sivakumar will continue as Speaker.

  2. If for any reason, Sivakumar has to vacate as Speaker of the State Assembly, the Perak constitution says the State Assembly cannot conduct any business while the office of Speaker is vacant, other than the election of a Speaker. Then the situation becomes a HUNG LEGISLATURE, since both BN and PR each has exactly 28 members.

    With no clear majority, BN's Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir will have no choice but to seek the dissolution of the House and obtain consent from the Perak Ruler for fresh elections.

    However the sentiment of the people is clearly against BN and it would want to avoid statewide elections at all cost. "I believe they will opt to retain Sivakumar," said Teng.

  3. If the court decides that the 3 defectors have not "resigned", Sivakumar as Speaker still wields considerable discretion in the State Assembly to cause difficulties and problems to the BN Government and MB Sivakumar. Teng said, "The speaker's decision on the Standing Orders cannot be challenged except by way of motion (a lengthy process which includes holding a debate in the House)."

    In this case, the Perak Sultan, as a constitutional monarch would not want to seen interfering in the business of government openly or behind closed doors.

Speaker Sivakumar Summoned MB Zambry and his 6 new Excos to Face Perak's Special Privileges Committee
According to the report by Star , Perak state assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar had summoned Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and his six newly sworn-in state executive councillors to face the state's Committee of Special Privileges.

Sivakumar's took action following complaints made by Canning assemblyman Wong Kah Woh to the Committee of Special Privileges. The state's Committee of Special Privileges had decided on Friday to call the seven BN Exco members to face it on Feb 18 at 2.30pm.

Speaker Sivakumar told reporters at the State Secretariat on Saturday he had asked the Assembly Secretary Abdullah Antong to send letters to the seven requesting their presence on that day. He said the basis for Wong's complaints was that the seven had shown contempt of the House.

Sivakumar said what he did was to follow procedures laid down in the Assembly. He added.
"The committee exists and any member of the House has the right to complain against another."
In an immediate response, Dr Zambry said he had yet to see the letter sent by Sivakumar.
Perak Crisis Waiting to Happen Again and Again


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Read here for more in Malaysia-Today


The Perak situation was a crisis waiting to happen. And it would not take that long to happen. One false move and the DAP-PKR-PAS loose coalition government of Perak would collapse. And it did collapse because two of the PKR people walked into a trap and found themselves faced with corruption charges.

But the problem does not end here.

  1. Outcome From Corruption Charges Against the 2 "Independent" State Assemblymen

    What happens to the corruption charges against those two ‘independent’ State Assemblymen? Will the charges now be dropped? If the charges are dropped then it would become too obvious. But if the charges remain and they face trial, then another problem crops up.

    If the trial reveals they were fixed up, then Barisan Nasional would look bad. But if they were not fixed up and really are guilty of corruption, Barisan Nasional would also look bad. Both ways Barisan Nasional would look bad.

    And if they are found guilty because they really are guilty then there will be two more by-elections in Perak, which the opposition will surely win. And we will end up with 30 opposition seats against only 29 from Barisan Nasional.

    This means the Perak government will again change hands like it did last week, but this time from Barisan Nasional to a loose coalition of DAP, PKR and PAS.

  2. The Expected Resignation of "Independent" Hee Yit Foong

    Then we have the problem of Hee. She is expected to resign due to the pressure she is facing. This means yet another seat will fall vacant and yet another by-election will be held.

Maybe over the 11 months since 8 March 2008, the loose coalition of DAP, PKR and PAS was running Perak with uncertainty about its future. But the new Barisan Nasional government of Perak is not on any more solid ground than the previous government. It too faces the possibility of being driven out of office.

What will the final curtain be?

I predict Perak will again change hands in the not too distant future.

And since the Sultan of Perak has already set the trend on how governments shall change, the same formula will have to be applied once DAP, PKR and PAS, combined, have more seats than Barisan Nasional.

The knife, as they say, cuts both ways.

BN May Pay a High Price for Perak Polarisation


Ooi Kee Beng

Read here for more


In the long run though, the victors may have to pay a high price for the Perak "coup".
What the four defectors in this Shakespearean drama will actually gain is not clear in any way. Aside from whatever might have been promised them by the BN, their political future looks very bleak indeed.

The two PR-defecting assemblymen were, and are, facing corruption charges. The BN offer for them to switch sides promised them some respite.

But as with Datuk Nasaruddin Hashim, the BN defector who triggered the drama on Jan 26 and who re-defected 10 days later, the duo cannot expect a long career in politics.

DAP's Hee Jit Foong's decision to fell the government — whether done for monetary gains, for position or to spite her party — has made her a hated person in her constituency, and it is a mystery how she imagines to continue being in the public eye after her defection.

The lesson that the PR has to learn from this is that it cannot hope to achieve stable and good governance in the long run if incompetence and a lack of commitment continue to riddle its ranks.

Many of its state assemblymen gained positions beyond their ability to manage following the March 8 voter revolt. The PR will have to take on the uncomfortable task of dismissing inept loyalists and replacing them with new talents in some graceful fashion.

It will also have to imagine a life after Anwar. To do that, it has to form coalitional institutions to keep dialogue and understanding alive among its members.

As for the BN, the price that it will have to pay will not be small. Further polarisation has now taken place, not least among Perakians, and much anger has been stirred up against Najib's methods.

This will make it practically impossible for non-Malay BN parties in the north to campaign in any effective fashion in coming elections.

The Perak crisis also reminds Malaysians that the war between the coalitions will continue for a long time to come, and where the peninsula is concerned, it will be fought in the electoral frontline states of not only Perak, but also Kedah and Negri Sembilan.

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