Saturday, February 21, 2009

Perak Pakatan snared in own trap over Sivakumar’s ‘brilliant’ move...

We are living in interesting times. Seems that Perak speaker Sivakumar may have just gone a wee bit too far to perform a coup de grace on PR's stubborn (albeit) foolish hold in the state.

Read the following excerpt:

Pakatan Rakyat members are shaking their heads in disbelief over the suspension of Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and his six exco members by Speaker V. Sivakumar for 18 months and 12 months respectively.

Even DAP chairman Karpal Singh, a prominent lawyer, is stumped by Sivakumar's decision to order the suspension.

Karpal told a press conference at Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur Sivakumar must call for the assembly to meet to endorse his decision to suspend Zambry and six executive councilors.

He said Sivakumar's decision must be endorsed by the house.

He recalled his own experience in 2004, where he was referred to the privileges committee for saying that members of parliament were required to raise their hands before taking their oath of office.

The committee's report was tabled in Parliament and Karpal was suspended for six months without pay or privileges.

Several PR lawmakers here said the move was totally unexpected as they had painstakingly gone through the state constitution and the assembly's Standing Orders prior to Wednesday's hearing before the Rights and Privileges Committee.

"I was shocked upon hearing Sivakumar's decision. We had discussed about this (possibility of suspending Zambry and his exco members) and strongly advised against it.

"By doing so, we have fallen into our own trap, akin to stepping on a banana peel planted by ourselves.

"I honestly do not know whose advice he (Sivakumar) took before making up his mind," said a PR lawmaker.

Sivakumar might have just relied solely on Order 89 of the Standing Orders to justify the suspension of the recently sworn-in Barisan Nasional administration.

Order 89 states that the decision of the speaker upon any point of interpretation of any of these Standing Orders, or upon any matter of practice, shall be subject to a substantive motion moved for that purpose, be final, and the speaker may from time to time issue rulings thereon.

While this clearly means that the speaker's decision is final and cannot be challenged, Order 72 which governs the Committee of Privileges must also be taken into consideration.

Order 72(2) specifically states that when the assembly is not sitting, a member may bring an alleged breach of privilege to the notice of the speaker who may, if he is satisfied that a prima facie breach of privilege has been committed, refer such matter to the committee, which shall report thereon to the assembly.

The Perak state assembly is not sitting and is only scheduled to do so in April.

Sivakumar told reporters last Saturday that the findings of the committee would be submitted only at the next sitting of the state assembly.

Something must have happened after Saturday for him to suspend Zambry and his exco members in such a hasty manner.

Canning DAP state assemblyman Wong Kah Woh got the ball rolling by writing to Sivakumar asking to hold an inquiry against the seven BN leaders for allegedly violating the sanctity of the Perak constitution by getting themselves appointed as menteri besar and exco members.

-From NST-

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