All eyes on special S’gor state assembly today

(Bernama) – The special sitting of the Selangor Legislative Assembly today is attracting attention for two reasons.

Will the Pakatan Rakyat-led state assembly succeed in amending the state constitution?

And will Badrul Hisham Abdullah, who was elected Port Klang assemblyman in 2008 but sacked by Speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim for failing to attend assembly sittings for six months without a valid reason, succeed in his self-proclaimed determination to attend the assembly?

Currently, Pakatan has 35 seats while Barisan takes up 21 seats in the state assembly. Thirty-six votes are needed to pass the amendments.

Teng had declared the Port Klang seat vacant as of Jan 16 and had notified the Election Commission (EC) of the vacancy on Friday.

Badrul Hisham, who won the seat as a PKR candidate, became a Barisan Nasional-friendly independent in 2009 after a fallout with PKR and joined Umno last year.

Legal practitioner Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun said that though Teng had the authority to declare the seat vacant, this had to be verified by the EC.

“As such, prohibiting Badrul Hisham from attending the sitting will be improper. This is seen as wanting to reduce the number of assemblymen present. The prohibition indicates the speaker has a hidden agenda,” he said when asked to comment on the matter.

The Selangor government is convening the special sitting to amend the state constitution to restore to the Sultan and the state the authority to appoint the state’s three top civil servants – the state secretary, the state legal adviser and the state financial officer.

This comes about after it disputed the appointment of Datuk Mohamed Khusrin Munawi as the state secretary, effective Jan 1, by the Public Service Commission on the ground that the Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim was allegedly not consulted.

The commission has explained that it had the constitutional right to appoint the state secretary but, out of courtesy, had consulted the Selangor Sultan.

However, the Pakatan Rakyat-led state government banned Khusrin from attending any state meeting and has called for Monday’s sitting to amend the state constitution.

It has yet to be seen if the amendments will be passed as Pakatan is short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass the amendment.

Meanwhile, Badrul Hisham intends to challenge the Speaker’s ruling in court on today.