Wrong Move This Time

After the March 8 elections, Perak hung in the balance as no single party or formal coalition of parties could claim a majority in the state assembly.

Barisan Nasional emerged with the most number of seats, 28, in the 59-seat Perak state assembly, while DAP won 18 seats, PKR seven seats and PAS six seats.

Needing only one more to have a majority, Barisan Nasional tried to entice winners from the other parties to join the coalition, but its efforts did not bear fruit.

Barisan Nasional then sought the Sultan’s consent to form a minority government, but he did not act on the matter as the other parties who had won seats — DAP, PKR and PAS — claimed that they would support each other to form a government with a majority in the state assembly.

The Sultan did indeed take time to judge the claims of both sides on the formation of a government.

After finally being convinced by the undertakings of the winners from DAP, PAS and PKR that they would fully support a government comprising representatives of the three parties and his choice for Menteri Besar, the Sultan then consented to the formation of a government by what would later be known as the Pakatan Rakyat.

The Sultan acted with deliberation and wisdom.

Is there any difference with the method he employed and the yardstick he used then, and now?

Some people might argue that there is very little difference, if any at all.

And I would agree.

But I would also argue that the Sultan should not have applied the same to the situation in Perak in the past few days.

Back in March 2008, the people had just spoken, and it was up to the Sultan to interpret, within the confines of the law, what they had just said.

I would dare add that few people would argue that the Sultan had wrongly interpreted the sentiments and aspirations of the people of Perak at the time.

This week, however, the people of Perak had very little say, if any at all, in the defections of the three assemblymen formerly of PKR and DAP, respectively.

This week, the people of Perak had very little say, if any at all, in the formation of the new state government.

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