Battleground Ipoh: Live Coverage

The Star

8:20am All 28 Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen, including ousted mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and perhaps-soon-to-be-ousted Speaker V. Sivakumar leave for the state secretariat building from the Grand View Hotel in Ipoh in a convoy of cars led by police escort.

6:45am Police seize more than 200 t-shirts with the words “One Black Malaysia” printed on them from a stall next to the Kampung Manjoi Baru surau.

5:30am Pakatan Rakyat holds a mass prayer at a surau (Muslim shrine) in Kampung Manjoi Baru in Ipoh; participants pray for the State Legislative Assembly to be dissolved.

IPOH: All eyes are on this so-called sleepy town once more as the battle lines are drawn between the legitimate Perak state government and the party holding on to power without a mandate — yet which party wears which label is still a matter of fierce dispute.

The war between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat has seen battles in backrooms and courtrooms, on the streets and under a rain tree, in the corridors of power and within the drawing rooms of the populace.

This time the arena is again the State Legislative Assembly, with a strong show of supporters expected at the state secretariat building despite police warnings not to gather and a court order barring any member of the public or a political party without legitimate business from approaching within 500m of the building.

Pakatan is eager to defer any sitting to after May 13 — the six-month deadline from the last sitting in November last year — so that the Assembly is automatically dissolved and fresh elections have to be called.

Meanwhile, Barisan is pinning its hopes on the sitting on so that they can hold on to power until the next general election.

The battle proper will begin after the opening royal address by the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah.

There will be many duels, from the petty to the iconic, in the august House Thursday morning — from which assemblymen get to sit on the “state government seats,” to the expected motion of no-confidence that Barisan will use to see off the thorn in their side, Speaker V. Sivakumar, and appoint a new one.

As the Speaker, Sivakumar could reject the motion and all hell could break loose very early in the day. Or he could try to adjourn the sitting after the royal address.

Whatever ever happens in the Assembly today, it is a sure bet that the war will not end here and it will be some time before the people of Perak get to see some peace and quiet in their “sleepy town.”