Updated 6.22pm, 4 May 2009
IPOH, 4 May 2009: Perak Speaker V Sivakumar wrote to the Sultan of Perak this morning seeking a postponement of the state legislative assembly sitting scheduled just three days away.
Sivakumar said he requested the deferment of the 7 May sitting because the matter of who was the rightful Perak menteri besar is still being heard in court.
Sivakumar Sivakumar, a DAP assemblyperson, also said he was concerned about the situation in the House getting out of hand.
“Both sides will want to stand with their principles and I expect the situation to be very difficult to control. Now that the matter is in court, we don’t know if the court will make a decision in time. Even if there is a decision, I expect the parties will want to file appeals. The best thing is to postpone,” he told The Nut Graph by phone today.
He later issued a press statement posted on his blog about his request to the sultan.
Sivakumar said his letter was sent to the Istana Kinta office around 11am this morning.
“I am of the opinion that it is not appropriate for the state assembly to be held when the position of the menteri besar is still a matter of dispute.
“Additionally, I am also worried about the conflict and disputes which will be difficult to control on that day. I anticipate that both sides will also be trading barbs to defend their respective stand. To protect the harmony, dignity and honour of the House, I have asked Tuanku to postpone the assembly sitting for the time being,” Sivakumar said.
Today, the Kuala Lumpur High Court is examining a dispute between two affidavits — one filed by Nizar and the other by Perak legal adviser Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid.
The point of contention in both affidavits is whether Nizar had lost the confidence of the majority of the House at the time when he requested for the sultan to dissolve the state assembly.
Nizar contends that he did not lose the confidence of the majority, and had made the request because of a hung assembly after three Pakatan Rakyat assemblypersons left the state’s ruling coalition to become Barisan Nasional (BN)-friendly independents.
The dispute over the affidavits arose following Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir’s application for a legal interpretation of the state constitution that he is the rightful menteri besar. The Federal Court was to have heard Zambry’s application on 28 April but remitted the case back to the High Court instead.
Tomorrow and on 6 May, the High Court is also supposed to hear Nizar’s request for a judicial review on who is the legitimate menteri besar.
Media applies twice
Meanwhile, Sivakumar’s office at the second floor of the Perak state secretariat building today received written applications by journalists to cover the 7 May sitting.
The state secretariat’s public and corporate relations office on the first floor was also accepting applications. An officer here said Zambry and state secretary Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Hashim would vet the applications. The media passes would be ready for collection from Zambry’s office on Wednesday, a day before the assembly.
Zambry Zambry said yesterday that all media were allowed to cover the assembly’s proceedings. He said this would include some internet news portals and bloggers.
Zambry’s reaction followed a restriction by the state secretariat last week to allow only 13 media organisations to cover the sitting, and to bar internet-based media.
The DAP protested the restrictions, and Sivakumar issued a statement yesterday that he would use his powers as speaker to allow all media to enter the House. However, he requested that journalists apply in writing for him to vet the applications.
It is unclear what will happen to journalists whose applications are accepted by Sivakumar but rejected by the state secretary and Zambry, or vice-versa.
Sivakumar, when asked about this, said: “Let the state secretary take whatever applications they want, the final say is still with me.”
He refused to comment when asked what he intended to do about a BN motion to eject him as speaker.
“There are many technical issues involved, we’ll see what happens on that day,” he said.
No public gatherings, warn police
Meanwhile, police today reminded the people not to gather near the State Secretariat (SS) building on 7 May when the Perak legislative assembly meets, to prevent any untoward incident, reports Bernama.
Perak police chief Datuk Zulkefli Abdullah said police had received many reports that certain political leaders, during their “ceramah” (talks), had been urging the people to assemble near the SS building and such calls were also made through certain blogs and websites.
“Such a mass gathering without a police permit is an illegal gathering, and action will be taken according to the law against those who plan, organise or take part in it,” he warned in a media statement issued today.
Zulkefli said police would deploy enough personnel and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of all the assemblypersons and invitees to the assembly sitting, and to safeguard public order.
“Police will act against those to organise or commit any act that can jeopardise public security and order,” he added.
To avoid traffic problems on that day, he advised road users not to use the roads near the SS building and those who have nothing to do with the assembly sitting not to gather near the building, while only those with the invitations would be allowed in.
He said a meeting was held this morning between the police and assemblypersons from Barisan Nasional, PAS and Parti Keadilan Rakyat at the state police headquarters to ensure smooth running of the assembly sitting, but he was disappointed that no DAP rep attended the meeting although they were also invited.
At the meeting, the assemblypersons were advised not to do anything that could threaten public order and security, including not to organise any illegal gathering on that day, and to show decorum at the assembly sitting.