All Eyes On Perak’s 10 Exco Posts

By Alan Ting and Syed Azwan Ali, Bernama

The new Perak Government led by Barisan Nasional (BN) has been put in place with the swearing-in of newly-appointed Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zamry Abdul Kadir Friday. Dr Zamry is also State Assemblyman for Pangkor.

However, the focus now is on who would be appointed to fill the 10 posts of the state's executive councillors (Excos), and how to accommodate the Barisan Nasional's component parties' representation.

Under the previous arrangement — before the March 8 General Election last year — at least, four of the Exco seats were filled by MCA, Gerakan dan MIC state assemblymen, that is, two from MCA and one each from Gerakan and MIC.

With the current BN representation in the Legislative Assembly where 27 out of 28 state assemblymen are from Umno, and one from MCA, the public sees an imbalance in the Excos, based on representatives from component parties.

The MCA assemblyman is Dr Mah Hang Soon (Chenderiang), who is also the party's national Youth deputy chief.

In theory, it looks simple — the positions can just be filled by the 28 BN assemblymen. However, the reality of politics makes it difficult.

Gerakan deputy president and Perak state chairman Datuk Chang Ko Youn lamented that the party did not have any candidate to suggest for the Exco posts since all the party's four candidates contesting the Canning, Aulong, Sepetang and Jalong had lost in the general election.

The same goes to MIC when they also lost all the four state seats they contested, namely Sungkai, Hutan Melintang, Behrang and Pasir Panjang.

A party insider told Bernama that one of the possible options is to appoint a representative to the state government with a status on par with state Excos as the state's Constitution only allowed the Exco post to be filled by a member of the State Legislative Assembly.

Therefore, there is a strong possibility that the new Perak Exco line-up would be similar to the composition of the current Terengganu state Exco where only one non-Malay representative, that is Toh Chin Yaw, the state assemblyman for Bandar, be appointed an Exco.

"For Terengganu, the majority of the population are Malays. It is Malay heartland and such composition is suitable. However, in Perak, the situation is different as the composition varied much," said an MIC grassroots leader.

He said, if the Terengganu formula was implemented in Perak, the BN component parties needed to prepare themselves to face accusations by Pakatan Rakyat that their previous state government was better represented.

Tomorrow, Perak Barisan Nasional expects to meet to discuss the formula for its new Exco line-up for Tuesday's swearing-in.

For former Perak menteri besar Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali, the new menteri besar (Dr Zambry) could consider two ways to solve the problem.

For one, he said, Dr Zambry could appoint representatives from the BN component parties other than Umno, for the post of Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the state assembly.

Tajol Rosli said the two posts need not be filled by the state assemblymen.

Or, he said, the BN-led government could also appoint two representatives from BN component parties other than Umno, to become members of the Senate so that they would represent the people in Perak.

He said all states were allowed to appoint two representatives to the Senate, and traditionally, Perak was represented by Umno and MCA candidates.

"But in this case, the provision can be given some consideration," he told Bernama here.

The newly-formed Perak Government comprises 27 Umno state assemblymen and one from MCA and supported by three independent assemblymen — Hee Yit Fong (Jelapang), Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (Behrang) and Mohd Osman Jailu (Changkat Jering).

Tajol Rosli said the new state government should also give fair consideration to the three independent candidates who supoported BN in the appointment for the posts.

"Don't think about yourself (Dr Zambry), think about the people and the party. Whatever decision on the exco line-up will influence the people's perception of the menteri besar," he added.