I have to admit that when I first heard of Perak DUN speaker Sivakumar declaring the two froggie nests requiring by-elections because of the pre-signed resignation letters, I wasn’t impressed, more by what I saw as Sivakumar’s indecent haste.
I blogged on that in Legality of undated resignation letters by MPs/ADUNs? where I stated: there’s legal precedence that the courts in a Sabah case had rejected the legality of such undated resignation letters by MPs and ADUNs.
But after reading Malik Imtiaz Sarwar’s Making sense of the Perak controversy I began to have second thoughts.
Malik is one bloke I admire lots and trust for his balanced and fair legal opinions. Briefly in point form (you can read his article yourself), Malik said:
(a) The speaker may be wrong but until he is shown to be wrong through valid process — either in the assembly (to the extent that such process is available) or through the courts — the speaker’s decision must stand.
my visitor Observer had given the same opinion, in fact much earlier than Malik did.
(b) ... it is apparent that the vacancy is established by reference to the position taken by the speaker. This is consistent with the basic principle of parliamentary democracy that it is the speaker who regulates the assembly.
(c) ... it is not for the Election Commission to embark on a fact-finding or adjudicative process as, amongst other things, it does not have the power to do so. In denying the position the speaker has taken, the Election Commission is in effect asserting that that the speaker is wrong. The Election Commission cannot do so. If there is a question as to the correctness of the speaker’s position, then it must be challenged through proper channels.
Hasn't the Perak Sultan, himself a former judge, seen this?
(d) Seen from this perspective, this unprecedented and very curious action of the Election Commission regrettably raises questions as to its motives.
And you thought the last bloke was bad ... eh?
(e) The Election Commission’s stance and the underlying events would afford sufficient cause for the menteri besar to request that the Sultan dissolve the assembly and call for fresh elections.
'... sufficient cause ...'! A damning statement against the impartiality of the EC. But obviously HRH thought differently ... hmmm!
... because, as we have learnt from Malaysiakini No dissolution, new gov't to be sworn in, HRH the Sultan of Perak has seen fit to reject MB Nizar’s recommendation to have the Perak DUN dissolved.
Over at the blog of my good matey Susan Loone, she has posted If Perak falls into BN’s lap, it would be the Sultan’s doing… based on an email she received, which says [relevant extract]:
if the sultan perak does nothing about the power grab by bn, the sultan will be doing something, he will be sokong the devious najib/umno way of doing things [...}
I wouldn’t go as far as to accuse the Sultan of supporting BN, because then, the BN supporters could accuse HRH of supporting PR if he were to dissolve Perak DUN.
But I believe the Sultan has lost much respect, not because he rejected MB Nizar’s recommendation, but because MB Nizar has defied his instructions to step down as MB and transfer power to the BN - see Malaysiakini Nizar disregards sultan's call to step down.
I trust you realize the import of a Malay defying a royal command. If it had been Anwar Ibrahim, I would say poorah … but Nizar? Wow!
Nizar must have been so incensed by the BN coup d’etat and that HRH couldn't/didn't (wouldn't?) see the legality and logic of the issues as Malik Imtiaz Sarwar had, that it drove him to do the unimaginable of a Malay ...
... making Nizar a modern day Jebat - mind you, not the traditional monarchist version of Jebat the rebellious traitor, but Ahmad Kassim's model ... which Dr Bakri Musa wrote in Malaysiakini:
Kassim frontally challenged the orthodox Malay thinking on authority, and royalty in particular. According to Kassim, the real hero is not Hang Tuah, rather the hitherto presumed renegade, Hang Jebat.
To Kassim, Tuah is the typical palace sycophant who willingly sells his body and soul to the sultan, a loyalty conveniently reinforced by whatever largesse the sultan could bestow.
Jebat is the rugged individualist, not awed by those who wield power. His loyalty is to institutions, not individuals. To Kassim, Jebat is the true hero, not the prodigal son, Tuah.
For more, see my old (2006) post Hang Jebat lives again, but ...!
... which is why I say HRH has lost humongous respect. And what an ironical outcome for such a learned person!
And it's doubly ironical because, according to Malaysiakini, 'Sultan Azlan Shah has written in Constitutional Monarchy, Rule of Law and Good Governance in 2004 that no sultan or agung had withheld consent to dissolve legislative body, except in Kelantan in 1977.'
'Under normal circumstances, it is taken for granted that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong would not withhold his consent to a request for dissolution of parliament. His role is purely formal.'
It seems our Nizar said: "I explained to his majesty that following a guidebook that the Perak sultan had written on the monarchy, the sultan should follow my advice as leader of the house to dissolve the assembly."
wakakakakakakakaka - surely a first for a royal cakap ta'serupa bikin
Of course the PR people won’t recall it was Anwar Ibrahim who started this nonsense of frogs. Mind you, his 'backdoor antics to power' don't justify the BN’s coup d’etat through froggies, but alas, the PR has lost the moral high grounds to criticize the BN for doing to them what they had wanted to do to the BN.
I am one of those who have never been too comfy giving too much political say to constitutional monarchy, but I too would like to know, why HRH has refused to agree to the dissolution of the DUN?
I am sure there’ll be lots of opinion, with some not complimentary at all.