Pressure on Zambry as Penang Gerakan urges fresh polls

By Lee Wei Lian (The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 — Penang Gerakan has joined the growing number of voices calling for fresh polls in Perak as the best way out of the current political crisis and urged Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir to stop the legal wrangling by dissolving the state legislative assembly.

Yesterday, Umno MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Dr Hsu Dar Ren, a central committee member of Gerakan, had also pushed for a state election in Perak as the best solution to the current imbroglio.

While Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has not called for the state assembly to be dissolved, he nevertheless appears to have distanced himself from what could be a political liability as perception mounts that Barisan Nasional (BN) is attempting to thwart the will of the people and cling to power. He said yesterday said that he will leave it up to Zambry to decide what to do.

Penang Gerakan chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan stressed today that by giving back the people "who obviously want a say in the matter" the power of choosing their government, BN can once again show that it upholds the principle of democracy and that it has the best interest of the people at heart.

"Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday that it was up to Zambry to decide the next course of action. I strongly feel that Perakians must have the final say in this matter because every government needs legitimacy, and the doubts can only be cleared via a re-election," said Teng in a statement to the media.

"“The political situation in Perak has come to a point — milky and uncertain — that it is only right to let the people choose the government they want."

Tengku Razaleigh yesterday reiterated his stand that according to the Constitution, a change of government can only be brought about by democratic means — either through the ballot box or through a formal vote of confidence in the legislative assembly.

"Responsible political leadership must support rather than destroy the confidence of the people in the nation's institutions," he said. "In particular, powers reserved for the legislative assembly, which represents the sovereign will of the people, cannot be taken away under any circumstances by anyone."

He also stressed that the courts were not the right place to decide who is the legitimate government of Perak.

"Some issues can be solved by a court of law, but the Perak crisis is not one of them. The back and forth events of the past week demonstrate this fact abundantly. The Perak crisis cannot be solved by a decision of the court because it is at heart a political rather than a constitutional problem. There is really no doubt about what the Constitution says."

The only way out of the Perak crisis, the former finance minister said, was to dissolve the state assembly and hold a "free and fair" election.

"Perhaps our political leadership has not understood how important it is that the people’s voice must prevail, and be seen to prevail, in the choice of their government," he said.

"Our survival as a democratic and constitutional monarchy depends on our acceptance of the judgment of the people as expressed in free and fair elections. Any attempt to circumvent that judgment betrays the basic principles and values upon which our nation and, incidentally, Umno itself stand."