Perak’s tarnished state

Constitutional crisis unlikely to be resolved

It appears that Malaysians will just have to live with the embarrassing spectacle of an august House turned circus every assembly sitting. PR sees it as the only way to keep alive awareness about the BN coup, while BN believes PR is only making a fool of itself.

By Deborah Loh, The Nut Graph

SAME circus, different act. The dramatic highlight of the Perak legislative assembly sitting on 7 May 2009 was the violent removal of Speaker V Sivakumar by police officers. The highlight of Wednesday’s 28 Oct sitting was the simultaneous running of two separate assemblies under the same roof.

Was anything achieved? Sure, Barisan Nasional (BN) passed its state budget for 2010. This was done without any debate or vote from the 28 Pakatan Rakyat (PR) assemblypersons who didn’t want to legitimise Speaker Datuk R Ganesan‘s position. Pakatan Rakyat also passed three motions in its “own” sitting. Though realistically, these motions are hardly going to be entertained.

From the perspective of the larger picture, which is the BN government’s legitimacy and public desire for fresh state elections, little was achieved. BN shows no signs of bowing to a snap poll. In fact, its 2010 budget suggests that BN will likely adopt populist measures for the remainder of the term to buy voters’ hearts and minds before the next general election.

PR’s lost cause?

PR assemblypersons are caught in a bind. They don’t want to endorse the BN government, its Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, nor Speaker Ganesan. But they could not boycott the 28 Oct sitting. Doing so would have put their seats at risk, according to PR’s embattled Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin.

So the PR tactic was to be physically present at the assembly, but to stage their own sitting to snub the BN and Ganesan.

“We have to keep up the heat on BN. We have already asked for a dissolution of the assembly so people must see that it is BN who is clinging on to power,” Perak DAP chief and Sitiawan assemblyperson Datuk Ngeh Khoo Ham tells The Nut Graph by phone.