02 March, 2009

Perak crisis: What's next ?

Perak state executive councillor Mohd Zahir Abdul Khalid today served notice referring State Legislative Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar to the Rights and Privileges Committee for alleged misconduct.

The notice, to which was attached a report on the alleged misconduct by the Speaker, was served on Sivakumar's political secretary A. Basu at the Speaker's office at the Bangunan Perak Darul Ridzuan at 11am.

Mohd Zahir said the notice was also related to several actions of the Speaker, including his decision suspending Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and his six state executive councillors from the legislative assembly.

"We regard this as being contrary to the Perak Constitution and in violation and contempt of the order of the Sultan of Perak. We, as the state assemblymen including the Speaker, must state our undivided loyalty to the Sultan of Perak," he told reporters after serving the notice.

He said that according to Article 47 of the Perak Constitution, all state assemblymen had sworn to, among other things, uphold, safeguard and defend the Perak Constitution as well remain loyal to the Sultan of Perak.

Meanwhile, according to Bernama, the main gate of the Perak Darul Ridzuan building here which houses the Perak menteri besar's office, State Secretariat and Perak Legislative Assembly will be kept closed tomorrow, according to a notice put up at the complex.

The notice, issued by the Management Service Division of the office of the State Secretariat, also advised employees at the building in Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab to cancel all appointments for tomorrow (March 3) at the premises.

State Legislative Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar has called for an emergency sitting of the assembly tomorrow to vote on two motions.

From The Malaysian Insider:

The directive appears to suggest civil service and executive interference in the legislature in what some lawyers say is a clear violation of the constitution and the doctrine of separation of powers.

The Perak police chief also issued a statement this afternoon in which he said the emergency sitting is “invalid” and advised members of the public not to gather at the state assembly.

These various directives appear to suggest the state Barisan Nasional (BN) government is trying to stretch to the limits its advantage of incumbency to prevent a vote in the assembly tomorrow, which it may lose.

Lawyers representing Perak mentri besar Datuk Dr Zambry Kadir and his executive council will also file for an injunction this afternoon at the High Court in Ipoh in an attempt to lift the suspension orders preventing them from attending the state assembly.

Mohd Zahir Abdul Khalid, one of Zambry’s executive council members, has also served notice that he will refer Speaker V Sivakumar to the legislature’s rights and privileges committee.

According to the notice, Mohd Zahir is accusing Sivakumar of abusing his power to commit contempt by showing disloyalty to the Perak Sultan.

Article 47 of the state constitution was cited. The article sets out the oath of allegiance, which each state assemblyman has to take when sworn into the assembly.

The attempt to refer Sivakumar to the rights and privileges committee is but just one of a host of tactics and strategies the BN government is employing as it faces the prospect of an emergency sitting of the assembly tomorrow which could see it being ousted by a no-confidence vote.

This evening, Zambry said he had sought a court declaration in the High court here that Sivakumar's move to suspend him and the six exco members was unconstitutionl and that they have the right to attend assembly sittings.

The originating summons was filed with the High Court at 3.55pm today and served through Sivakumar's staff at 5pm. The case will be heard at 9am tomorrow at high court 4.

The legal action is unprecedented because the courts are constitutionally not allow to review anything to do with the assembly because of the doctrine of separation of powers.

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