Political observers and Perakians are looking forward to May 7 — the day when the State Assembly is due to sit for the first time since the takeover of the state by Barisan Nasional (BN).
That the sitting is to take place just six days before a six-month deadline to sit expires is also noteworthy as otherwise, the state assembly would be automatically dissolved and a state election would have to be called. This is something that BN wants to avoid and which Pakatan Rakyat (PR) wants.
There are still calls from PR Speaker V Sivamukar for the ruler of the silver state, Sultan Azlan Shah, to postpone the sitting following the uncertainty in the position of the menteri besar, as the matter has yet to be decided by the courts. But such calls are almost certainly not going to be heeded.
The May 7 sitting is anticipated to be a highly charged one. Both BN and PR members are expected to squabble over the seats on the right side of the Speaker, which is where the ruling state government usually sits.
Perhaps anticipating this, BN’s Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir has publicly warned PR “not to act childishly” during the assembly.
Mundane matters of seating aside, speculation is also rife that several things will take place, initiated by both the BN and PR. Given the unpredictable nature of politics and politicians, it is really anyone’s guess what would actually happen, but here are our best guesses.
Likely: Zambry to nominate R Ganesan as new Perak State Assembly Speaker and move a motion to remove Sivakumar
On April 29, the BN nominated former Sungkai assemblyman Datuk R. Ganesan from MIC as new Perak State Assembly speaker. The motion, proposed by Zambry and seconded by state executive councillor Datuk Hamidah Osman was sent to the Perak State Assembly secretary’s office and had an acceptance letter from Ganesan on the appointment attached.
Therefore, it is inevitable that during the sitting, Zambry will move a motion to remove current State Assembly Speaker, PR’s V Sivakumar (DAP) through a vote of no confidence. Sivakumar said on May 6 that he has yet to make a decision on the matter; however, political pundits are guessing that he will likely reject the motion.
Sivakumar is the BN Perak state government’s biggest headache. “They (BN) thought they could control the Perak government just by toppling the MB but now the Speaker is the biggest stumbling block they are facing,” says PAS political analyst Asmawi Mohamad, who notes that Sivakumar, a lawyer by training, would not go down without a fight.
Unlikely: Motion of confidence in Zambry, motion of no-confidence in Nizar, and Q&A session between PR and BN
In response to a flurry of articles and blog posts that Zambry should call for a vote of confidence in his leadership, Zambry told reporters that he did not want to waste time politicking, and that he wanted to solve Perak’s political impasse as soon as possible.
Neither is there likely to be a motion of no-confidence against the former MB from PR Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin because as far as the BN is concerned, he has already been removed by the sultan.
Critics of the BN power grab in Perak however feel that the absence of this vote indicates that the government lacks legitimacy although the BN has the support of three BN-friendly PR-ADUNs-turned-independents. The BN and PR have the same number of state legislators in the House.
According to reports by other news outlets, PR has refused to submit questions to the BN government. Asmawi explained that PR’s attendance at the meeting was under protest and they would bear only the minimum order of business, keeping their participation in the formal proceedings to a low level.
There have also been indications and reports that Zambry and his six exco members may be barred from entering the state assembly tomorrow. They were suspended from the House in February by the Special Privileges Committee for contempt against the House; the decision was adopted during the March 3 “raintree assembly” sitting.
But there is the question of whether the sergeant-at-arms will carry out any order by Sivakumar to bar the seven from the assembly. Since the whole debacle started, both civil servants and the police have shown that their allegiance is with the BN.
What will actually take place in Perak, which has already seen several roads leading to the state assembly blocked in anticipation of tomorrow’s sitting, remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is that PR would see to it that the Perak political crisis will not end anytime soon. -