Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Power Game in Perak

Two nail-biting events marked the onset of year 2009. The first one happened between London-St Petersburg when hard fought negotiation had occurred for almost 1 month to transfer unsettled Andrey Arshavin from Zenit St Petersburg to Arsenal FC. And it ended happily both for Arshavin and Arsenal.

What about the second one?

The second event don`t have any relation at all with football :)) but it occurs also in January and it is still ongoing until now -_-

Like most of commonwealth nations, Malaysia adopts Westminster system which is parliamentary system with monarch as head of state, both in federal government and state governments. So, the government can be replaced if it loses its majority. Therefore by just 3 seats majority, the opposition will only need 2 seats in order to bring down the government through by elections or defections..

It started at March 2008 when The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition won a slim majority in Perak against UMNO led Barisan Nasional (BN) by merely 3 seats majority. At that time, DAP won the biggest seat for PR (18 seats) followed by PKR (7 seats) and PAS (6 seats). However the Perak constitution only permit Moslem as Menteri Besar (MB) and DAP has none moslem state assembly member, therefore Mohd Nizar from PAS became Perak MB. Almost every act of his administration (from land title to Camry issues) was critisised by the Malaysian mainstream press.

After that, events full of twist and turns, defect and re-defect occurs between end of December 2008 until today. It begins with Nasarudin Hashim, a state assemblyman from BN who defected to PR on 25 January 2009. After his defection, there was talk of another defections from BN to PR. However suddenly 2 PR Assemblymen from PKR, Jamaluddin Mat Radzi and Mohd Osman Jailu, went missing on 31st January 2008 and shockingly declared 3 days later that they "became independent" but gave their allegiance to BN. They were joined by Hee Yit Foong the following day and also surprisingly... Nasarudin Hashim who re-defected back to BN! Then, Sultan had audience with both parties and decided to install Zambry Abd Kadir as a new MB from BN. However, Mohd Nizar is still claiming until now that constitutionally he is the rightful MB.

Recently, Perak Assembly speaker from PR, V Sivakumar, also added more controversy by suspended Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and his six excos from the state assembly for 18 and 12 months respectively for contempt of the assembly. Thus if it is well within the speaker rights, who is the real MB of Perak right now??

Seeing all this twists and turns, as an amateur political observer I`d like to give my 2 cents :P

Defect and re-defect
One of the characteristic of Westminster system that I`ve previously mentioned is the dangerous of small majority or a weak coalition that will easily bring down the government. Worst of all, if the fall of the government is caused by "bribery-triggered" defection. Not only it is morally wrong but it will also cause instability and even chaos

So how to prevent it? It is by preventing the defection itself using an "anti defection act". Therefore if a member of parliament (or state assembly member in this case) want to switch sides, he/she will have to resign his/her seat and contest in an by-election. In other word, let people decide if your defection can be justified :D

Bypassing the State Constitution
As BN gained majority in Perak State Assembly after the defection had occurred, I found it was such a blunder by DPM Najib Razak to directly meet The Sultan of Perak in order to bring down the PR Government. If BN truly command majority of the state assembly, they should pass vote of no confidence to the current MB in order to force his resignation (which is in line with the constitution). So the question is why they didn`t do it? To save time or they weren`t sure winning the vote of no confidence?

Snap election
Well.. seeing all this chaos, I think it`s better for the Sultan to dismiss The Perak Assembly and hold fresh election.. (and hopefully the winner gets large majority :P)

Presidential System
Generally I still love presidential system compare to Parliamentary system :))

How The Perak State Government Fall
Perak Constitutional Crisis (from wiki)
Westminster System that is used in Malaysia and most of commonwealth nations (also from wiki)

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