Perak sues to declare 3 seats vacant and force snap polls

By Shannon Teoh (The Malaysian Insider)

IPOH, Feb 5 — In a legal bid to deny Barisan Nasional's claim to a majority in the Perak state assembly, the embattled Pakatan Rakyat government and the legislative speaker will file a suit to declare vacant the seats of three “independent” assemblymen.

This would effectively create a 28-28 stalemate, thereby compelling the Perak Sultan to dissolve the assembly, senior state exco member Datuk Ngeh Kooh Ham told The Malaysian Insider.

"We are filing a suit in the Ipoh High Court to declare the three elected representatives have resigned," he said.

"There will be no majority, and so it would be appropriate for the Sultan to consent to the dissolution of the assembly," added Ngeh, who is also Perak DAP chief.

Pakatan Rakyat has insisted that Speaker V. Sivakumar's decision over the resignations of Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (Behrang), Osman Jailu (Changkat Jering) and now Hee Yit Fong (Jelapang) is final under the state constitution.

However, it is being disputed by the Election Commission which refuses to recognise the vacancies and call by-elections.

The EC's decision has allowed BN to claim the support of the three renegade lawmakers to add to its 28 assemblymen.

Ngeh said a declaration from the court would compel the EC to agree that the seats are vacant and call for by-elections.

Yesterday, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin was granted an audience with the Perak Ruler to make his case for dissolution of the assembly.

However, BN deputy chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak is expected to meet the Sultan today to counter this by claiming that it now had a three-strong majority.

Meanwhile, veteran DAP leader Lim Kit Siang blasted Najib's move to claim the Perak government with the help of the independents.

"I call on Najib to cease and desist from any attempt at illegal and unconstitutional grab of power in the Perak state government in utter disregard of the constitutional process and the mandate of the people of Perak," the Ipoh Timur MP said in a statement.

"This will be a very ominous start for the Najib premiership which is to begin next month when Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi steps down as the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia," he added.

He pointed out that the Perak Sultan has yet to decide on Nizar's request to dissolve the assembly and Pakatan Rakyat remained the government in power until polls are called or a motion of confidence is called in the assembly.

Historically, no Sultan or Yang di-Pertuan Agong has withheld consent to dissolve a legislative body, except in Kelantan in 1977.