Was Sivakumar’s removal lawful?

(The Malaysian Insider) – Pakatan Rakyat Speaker V. Sivakumar might have been physically taken off the speaker's chair at the Perak state assembly sitting but Selangor Speaker Teng Chang Khim is questioning whether the motion to remove him is even lawful.

Teng pointed out that the motion tabled by Barisan Nasional Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir was done before the deputy speaker Hee Yit Foong at her assemblyman's seat while Sivakumar was still occupying the speaker's chair. Sivakumar had earlier rejected the motion twice.

"It is crystal clear that the deputy speaker has acted ultra vires the state constitution in chairing the meeting that removed YB Sivakumar as the Speaker when Sivakumar was present in the House. The motion passed to remove YB Sivakumar was therefore unconstitutional," Teng wrote in his weblog today.

He cited Article XXXVIA(3)of the Perak State Constitution which provides that whenever the Speaker is not present at the meeting of the House, another member of the House shall, in accordance with the provision of the Standing Order, be appointed to carry out the duties of the Speaker.

"Consequently, the election of the ‘new’ Speaker was unconstitutional as there was no vacancy to fill," Teng said.

At the chaotic sitting today, Sivakumar had pointed out that the motions tabled and approved by Barisan Nasional lawmakers were illegal as the assembly had yet to be declared open by Raja Nazrin Shah, the Perak Regent, in place of his father Sultan Azlan Shah.

But Zambry continued and after a couple of “adjournments” by Barisan Nasional-elected Speaker Datuk R. Ganesan, scuffles broke out and police came in to restore order during which they removed Sivakumar from his seat.

Raja Nazrin acceded to ousted Pakatan Rakyat Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin's request for the police to leave the chambers before he began his royal address. Nizar, who sat at the government bench to the right of the speaker's chair, later escorted Raja Nazrin after the royal address ended.