Monday, March 2, 2009

Showdown in Perak - Sun

IPOH (March 2, 2009): The stage is set for a showdown here tomorrow between two political groups, each claiming to be the rightful state government.

A defiant State Legislative Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar is bent on going ahead with an emergency sitting of the assembly tomorrow morning to vote on two motions, aimed at killing the Barisan Nasional administration of Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir who was appointed by the Sultan of Perak as mentri besar.

But the obstacles are already up. Since this evening, police roadblocks were erected along the main road leading to the Perak Darul Ridzuan building which houses the Perak Mentri Besar office, the State Secretariat and the Legislative Assembly.

An unsigned notice put up at the complex advised employees at the building in Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab to cancel all appointments tomorrow at the premises.

However, in reaction, senior DAP exco member Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said they will go ahead to attend the assembly. He pointed out that the assembly is separate from the state secretariat.

Ngeh was with reporters waiting at the Ipoh High Court this afternoon, following talk that BN lawyers would file for an injunction to stop the special meeting.

Perak police chief Datuk Zulkefli Abdullah warned of police action against any gathering at the Perak Darul Ridzuan complex, saying such gathering would be illegal.

He said they were informed by the building administration that the State Assembly would not sit tomorrow and added that only employees and people with special approval would be allowed in.

"According to a statement from the Secretary of the Assembly received today, the emergency sitting of the assembly called for tomorrow (Tuesday) is not valid because it does not have the consent of the Sultan of Perak," he said when contacted by Bernama.

This afternoon, Zambry told a press conference that they had filed an originating summons in the High Court today, seeking a declaration that Sivakumar's decision to suspend him and his exco was unconstitutional, unlawful and ultra vires the constitution.

The case will be heard at 9am tomorrow.

He said another suit was also filed, by the three BN-friendly Independents on the status of their unsigned resignation letters, which Sivakumar had used to declare their seats vacant. This will be heard on March 5.

In another development, state executive councillor Mohd Zahir Abdul Khalid served notice to refer 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 to suspend Zambry and his six state executive councillors from the legislative assembly recently.

Police barricade infront of the Perak State Assembly Building
"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 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.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak had on Saturday said that Sivakumar could not call the sitting as the court had yet to decide on the status of the state government.

However, Sivakumar's lawyers had argued that the assembly was adjourned sine die last November and as such, the Speaker had the power to convene a new sitting.

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