Zambry attempts to remove Sivakumar

By Baradan Kuppusamy and Debra Chong, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 — The first item on the agenda of the Barisan Nasional controlled Perak State assembly which sits on May 7 will be the removal of the Pakatan Rakyat Speaker V. Sivakumar.

This was confirmed in a letter to all 59 state assemblymen today giving notice that the agenda on May 7 is a motion to remove Sivakumar and elect a new Speaker.

The letters signed by assembly secretary Abdullah Antong Sabri states Mentri Besar Datuk Zambry Abd Kadir will table the motion, which is seconded by Sungai Rapat Umno representative and state executive council member Hamidah Othman.

PR’s Sungkai assemblyman A. Sivanesan confirmed receiving the letter when contacted today.

“We have expected them to do this… we are not surprised,” he told The Malaysian Insider today.

“We are re-nominating Sivakumar as speaker,” he said adding that never in the history of democracy in Malaysia has a speaker been removed and a new speaker elected immediately after.

BN has a three seat majority made possible by PR defectors now claiming to be “BN-friendly” representatives and although there is expected to be some chaos, the motion is expected to be carried.

A senior lawyer familiar with the crisis said Speaker Sivakumar will have to excuse himself when the motion is tabled as he cannot be presiding over a motion on his own removal.

“Once he is out of the way, the assembly will elected a new speaker and with the three-seat majority it is business as usual unless the BN rank breaks,” he said.

PR sources however said Sivakumar has several options before the motion to remove him is tabled including disallowing the motion and dissolving the sitting.

Several court decisions are also pending in the lead up to May 7 including a matter in the Ipoh High Court over who is the rightful mentri besar of Perak — Zambry or his predecessor Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin.

However legal experts said these cases could potentially go on for years as had happened during the “two Chief Ministers” tussle in Sabah in 1986 between Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan and the late Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun.

Like Pairin, Zambry is expected to continue as mentri besar by virtue of enjoying a majority in the State Assembly, while the court cases drag on.

Earlier this month the Federal Court had overturned Sivakumar’s suspension of Zambry for 18 months and his exco members for 12 months.

The Federal Court has also overruled Sivakumar’s decision to declare vacant the state seats of the three PR defectors.

DAP Perak Chief, Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham, who is also the assemblyman for Sitiawan, confirmed he had received the letter yesterday.

According to him, the Speaker has not been notified of the proposal.

He also claimed the letter is not valid because the Assembly Secretary Abdullah Antong had already been suspended by the Speaker.

Efforts to get in touch with Sivakumar have been unsuccessful. Ong Boon Piow (DAP-Tebing Tinggi) received his letter today.

“It was sent to my home around 2pm today. Coincidentally, it was time for lunch so that’s why I received it,” he told The Malaysian Insider over the phone.

Asked if he knew anyone else who had received the letter, he named Wong Kah (DAP-Canning Garden), but said none of his other DAP or PR colleagues had replied to his SMS text messages.

He pointed out the deadline to name a replacement for Speaker Sivakumar is tomorrow.

Asked what he plans to do, he said it depended on the state leadership.

“I’m not so clear. The Perak Pakatan Rakyat and the state leadership will be having a meeting tomorrow at the Pas headquarters in Ipoh at 3.30pm,” he said, adding he supposed the issue will be discussed then.

When contacted, Chang Lih Kang (PKR-Teja) said he had missed the Nationwide courier carrying the letter.

Asked if Zambry was within his rights to file the notice to bring a vote against the Speaker, Chang said: “Any assemblyman can file any ordinary motion to be tabled in the Assembly 14 days before the sitting”.

“The Speaker has no right to reject the motion to be tabled if it is done 14 days before the sitting,” Chang explained.

“The Speaker can reject if it is an emergency motion,” he pointed out, noting emergency motions are left to the discretionary powers of the Speaker. However, Ngeh indicated the Speaker may yet reject the tabling of the motion.

“If the motion is successful, they have to elect a new Speaker. Conventionally, the Deputy Speaker goes up,” he said.

It is no secret that the PR alliance would want to avoid the promotion of the Deputy Speaker Hee Yit Foong.

Hee who was originally the DAP representative for Jelapang, had quit the party to become an independent and pledged loyalty to the BN, upsetting the PR’s razor thin majority which empowered them to form the state government.