Perak Speaker battle moves to court

(The Edge) PETALING JAYA: With the legal dispute between the two Perak menteris besar still hanging in limbo, the battle for the powerful position of Perak state legislative assembly Speaker will make its way to court.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Speaker V Sivakumar will file a civil suit against Barisan Nasional-elected (BN) Speaker Datuk R Ganesan at 11.30am today at the Ipoh High Court.

Sivakumar's lawyer Leong Cheok Keng told The Edge Financial Daily the suit was brought in relation to Ganesan's orders for police personnel to assist in removing Sivakumar from the assembly during the chaotic May 7 assembly sitting.

The May 7 sitting saw BN representatives elect Ganesan as Speaker via a "sub-assembly" convened on the floor of the assembly in a motion "tabled" before independent Jelapang assemblyman and Deputy Speaker Hee Yit Foong which was passed by the 28 BN assemblymen and other two independents – Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (Behrang) and Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu (Changkat Jering).

Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir had attempted to table a motion to remove Sivakumar, which the latter rejected on grounds that Zambry was still suspended from the aseembly.

During the sitting, Sivakumar maintained he was the assembly's legitimate Speaker and remained at his seat until he was later forcibly removed by plain-clothed officers upon Ganesan's orders amidst scuffles and pandemonium in the hall.

Sivakumar was brought to a room in the Perak Darul Ridzuan building where the assembly was housed, and was not permitted out until the assembly was adjourned.

Leong also said the suit was to take Ganesan to task for trespass to the person, assault and false imprisonment.

Leong added Sivakumar would seek damages and an injuction against Ganesan to prevent Ganesan from stopping Sivakumar from performing his duties as Speaker.

On why Sivakumar was not challenging the legitimacy of Ganesan as Speaker, Leong said it was "unnecessary" as Sivakumar did not recognise Ganesan as Speaker.

Ganesan meanwhile had reiterated that he was "lawfully appointed by the majority of the dewan".

When contacted, Ganesan said he had not sought legal advise over the suit and that he would wait until it had been filed.

Ganesan also said he did not take the suit personally as it was a matter between PR and BN.

"Sivakumar is my brother… It is not personal. If it were in reverse, I was in Pakatan, maybe I do the same also," Ganesan said.