In what must surely be a first for Malaysia, the Perak state assembly comprising solely Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers vote with a show of hands on three resolutions while gathered under a shady rain tree in Ipoh. – Pic by Choo Choy May. Picture courtesy of Malaysian Insider
By Lee Wei Lian and Shannon Teoh
IPOH, March 3 — In the shade of a rain tree with the State Secretariat just 200 metres away, Perak Speaker V Sivakumar convened an emergency sitting of the state assembly today which effectively voted to end the de facto Barisan Nasional (BN) government of Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.
Across town at the same time in the Ipoh High Court, BN lawyers were arguing to stay the proceedings of the state assembly, pending a law suit against Sivakumar for suspending from the assembly Zambry and his six executive council members.
On an eventful day, Perak’s administration has been thrown into chaos with both BN and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) questioning the legitimacy of each other’s actions.
The State Secretary’s directive to close off the building which houses the state assembly had added to the confusion over the administration of the state.
The directive resulted in riot police barring state assemblymen from entering the building.
All the lawmakers that had turned up this morning were from PR parties. BN legislators, not surprisingly, did not show up as they contend the assembly was invalid.
Sivakumar was the only person given permission to access the building, but he chose instead to walk nearby to convene the assembly with the presence of the PR assemblymen.
Dressed in his ceremonial black robes and songkok, the Speaker presided over a sitting, which on the face of it appeared legal as long as he was present.
The sitting proceeded to pass three votes – expressing their confidence in Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin as mentri besar; calling on Nizar to seek a dissolution of the state assembly; and endorsing Sivakumar’s suspension of Zambry and the de facto BN executive council.
No entry, no problem for Perak Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar as he conducts the al fresco meeting
Nizar told reporters later that he would seek an audience with the Sultan to ask for consent to dissolve the assembly.
At the Ipoh High Court, Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim ruled that five lawyers, including constitutional expert Tommy Thomas, had no locus standi to represent the Perak Speaker in court.
He said the Speaker must be represented by the state legal advisor because he is part of the state government.
Thomas told reporters the team had no choice but to withdraw from the case.
Earlier this morning, a minor scuffle broke out when a group of unidentified men tried to stop Nizar and other PR assemblymen from entering the state assembly compound.
Subsequently, Nizar and the assembkymen were prevented from entering the state assembly by riot police, backed by two trucks with water cannons.
Yesterday, Zambry declared any attempt to hold an emergency sitting of the state assembly a “threat to national security.”