Making Sense Of The Perak Controversy

By Malik Imtiaz Sarwar

Before embarking on an analysis of the state of play in Perak, it would be of value to consider the objective facts:

From the above, it could be said that the following questions arose when the controversy first erupted:

  • the legal value or validity of the resignations. There is no authoritative decision of the courts on this point. A 1982 decision of the then Federal Court (Datuk Ong Kee Hui) observed that such resignations could be viewed as being contrary to public policy in view of elections at both the State and Federal level being of individuals as opposed to political parties. A question of honoring the wishes of the electorate, that is the electing of the individual as opposed to the party, arises. The Federal Court did not decide on the point as the Member of Parliament concerned did not seek to invalidate the resignation nor had the Speaker been joined as a party. The point is as such open to argument; and

  • whether the resignation letters were procured under duress,