Nizar tries to contact palace to seek dissolution of assembly

By Lee Wei Lian, The Malaysian Insider

Ousted Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin attempted yesterday to contact the Sultan of Perak to seek a dissolution of the Perak state assembly.

According to Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham, the Perak DAP chairman and former Perak executive councillor, Nizar wrote a letter to the palace yesterday regarding the dissolution.

The Perak government has been in turmoil after three former DAP and PKR state legislators tipped the balance in the state assembly by turning independent and professing support for the Barisan Nasional.

BN and Pakatan Rakyat now have an equal number of representatives in the 59-member state assembly, but the support of the three independents gives BN a majority of three.

The Sultan of Perak had sworn in new Mentri Besar Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir and his six executive councillors.

However, there was no vote of confidence in the state assembly to show that Zambry enjoys the support of the majority of lawmakers, a point which critics have used to say that he lacks legitimacy.

The PR, on the other hand, had convened the now famous assembly sitting under a tree, after being denied entry into the building housing the state assembly hall.

During the sitting, from which the BN representatives stayed away, PR legislators voted to affirm Nizar as the rightful mentri besar, seek a dissolution of the state assembly, and to uphold the suspension of Zambry and his executive councillors by the rights and privileges committee for contempt of the assembly.

There has been a flurry of court cases and decisions over matters pertaining to the power grab which appear to have been largely in BN's favour but are being questioned by PR.

The most recent was a Federal Court decision on Thursday to set aside the suspension of Zambry and his executive councillors by Speaker V. Sivakumar.

PR, however, says that the Speaker is bound to uphold the suspension as it was endorsed at the assembly sitting under the tree.

"The Federal Court decision is only an opinion expressed in regard to the power of the Speaker but did not set aside the decision of the privileges committee and the adoption of its decision by the state assembly," says Ngeh.

Zambry had sought a ruling from the Federal Court on whether motions passed in the assembly sitting under the tree are binding and lawful.

The Federal Court, however, ruled that it was “unnecessary” to answer the question.

BN yesterday called for a sitting of the assembly on May 7. The notice was sent out by the assembly secretary Abdullah Antong Sabri. The Speaker today suspended Abdullah for insubordination and sending out the notices without his knowledge and consent.

Sivakumar will now seek clarification from the Sultan on whether the sitting has his consent.

Ngeh said even if the assembly is convened on May 7, which BN is likely to push for since the assembly will be automatically dissolved when the deadline to convene expires on May 13, it will be a "very embarrassing" affair as the Speaker determines the sitting arrangements and who gets to sit in the mentri besar’s seat.

He is also of the view that a fight between the executive and legislative branches of the government or between the legislative and judicial branches will be never ending. "Once any of these three bodies fails to observe the confines of their powers and act outside their jurisdiction, it will create more problems. The respective bodies have their own mechanisms to solve issues such as the judiciary tribunal for judges and the rights and privileges committee for the assembly."

He also reiterated PR's call for an election to determine who has the majority in the assembly. "The problem of who has the majority should be determined by the people. No one else can solve the problem."