Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Perak crisis: Let the people decide - Malaysiakini

S Pathmawathy and Shingyee Koh | Feb 4, 09 5:58pm

While the situation in Perak remains uncertain, political experts today said that state representatives should return the mandate to the people by allowing them to have the final say on who they want as their state leaders.

Former University Technology Mara law professor Shad Saleem Faruqi said in such a "fluid situation, it is best the public is allowed to choose their leaders".

Shad however, opined that dissolving the state assembly was not the best option for Barisan Nasional as the national coalition does not currently enjoy mass support of the people.

The citizens, added Shad, were disgusted with the defections as they belittled their ability to elect their representatives.

"Well, it is a game of numbers. Barisan Nasional has to have the numbers for a vote of no-confidence in order to force the menteri besar to step down.

"The menteri besar on the other hand, can advise the sultan to dissolve the state assembly, initiating a snap election," he added.

Following are the views of political analysts on Perak's current political crisis.

Chandra Muzaffar, political scientist

The mess in Perak is not in the interest of the people at all, especially at a time when Malaysia, like every other country in world, is on the brink of an economic crisis.

Getting politicians to cross over and organising defections is part of Malaysian politics since the 70s.

If you look at BN, it came into being when the Sarawak United Peoples' Party (Supp) joined BN in the 1970s, followed by Gerakan and the Peoples' Progressive Party (PPP).

One of the worst cases of defection that lead to the collapse of a democratically elected government happened in Sabah in 1994. Parti Bersatu Sabah (PSB) was elected but within two weeks, their representatives were defecting and at that time it was engineered by Anwar Ibrahim.

This is very unethical, they were elected by the mandate of the people, therefore they should relinquish their seats before deciding to defect to different parties.

We do not have a law to that requires people who cross over to relinquish their seats. It is high time we implement an anti-hopping law.

It is difficult to say that if an election takes place in Perak, the outcome would be in favour of Pakatan or Barisan. It is too early to speculate.

People need to be more civilised and let the government complete its job and this goes for both Pakatan and BN.

Coming to power through the back door is just not right. Stop all this and start working for the people in this time of crisis.

Ramon Navaratnam, Transparency International president

If they want to hop, they should jump off the band wagon as well, they should just resign.

Why can't politicians be faithful? BN or any political party should call for an election when faced with such uncertainties.

They should go back to the people, and ask for their verdict because it won't be fair to the people.

The main question is: Who holds the majority of support from the electors?

James Chin, Monash University School of Arts and Social Sciences head

The key player in this crisis is the Sultan, as Pakatan will need his permission to dissolve the state government.

Although most lawyers will argue that the mentri besar is in power, according to the old British system, a monarch should always follow the advice of the prime minister, regardless of personal preference.

The Sultan should know the law better than any of us, as he was formerly the Lord President of the Supreme Court.

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