Interesting times in PerakPosted: February 4, 2009
Following the “resignation letters” that the Perak state assembly speaker received from two PKR state assemblymen, it seems that a drama has unfolded.
First, the letters are being disputed. Both state assemblymen are denying that they have resigned.
However, the speaker had already declared their seats vacant, and had already submitted an official letter to the EC, and by-elections are supposed to happen within 60 days.
Then the EC decides that it cannot call for by-elections, because the “validity of the resignation letters” are under doubt. They announce that the two seats will still be held by the duo
The two PKR state assemblymen then say that they have been “kicked out” from PKR, since the letters were only supposed to be handed in if and when they decide to leave the party. Now they claim that they are independent state assemblymen.
The Perak state assembly speaker then says that he has “absolute authority” when it comes to announcing the vacancy of the state seats. If this is the case, then the EC have overstepped their boundaries in announcing that they cannot accept the resignation letters.
Now, with the Pakatan Rakyat only having such a slim majority, and chances of “defection” at a high, the Perak MB is considering calling for snap polls.
If this is not drama, I don’t know what is.
As for myself, I don’t think that the EC has the authority to decide whether or not the resignation letters are valid. This should be under the purview of the speaker, and if he has already officially announced both seats vacant, the EC should carry out the by-elections.
But since both state assemblymen are denying their resignation, they should bring this matter up with the speaker, or if they dispute the legality of the letters, they should bring the matter to court. And it should be decided by either the courts, or the speaker, whether or not to stay the by-elections while they fix up this mess.
I am, of course, not saying that I’m right. I just think that systems are put in so that messes like this don’t happen. If the EC can do what it did, despite receiving an official letter from the speaker, then why should the resignation letters be given to the speaker in the first place? Might as well just give it to the EC. There must be some kind of flow here, and that’s the problem. The flow has gone nuts.
However, if I’m wrong, and the EC really does have such an authority, I’d like to be corrected.
Updated: Read Haris Ibrahim’s post HERE for more details pertaining this issue about the EC’s authority. Read also the first comment on that post by Shamsul Yunos.
About snap polls. There are so many ways to look at it. It could be a chance for Barisan Nasional to “redeem themselves”. It could also be a way for Pakatan Rakyat to “weed out” potential defectors. And if the trend of how the by-elections were going about, it might also benefit the people of Perak to the extent that there would be more money flowing in, and more development promises.
However, with the economic climate the way it is now, is it really all that wise to be spending so much money, time and attention on snap polls, when all this money, time and attention could be put to better use, like taking care of the entire country?
I don’t know.
Unstable governments don’t attract investors. Perhaps it would be good for Perak in the long haul, assuming that the results for this potential election will give either side a larger majority to work with. Minus potential defectors, which would throw the state government, whichever state it is, into another frenzy.
It’s a drama in Perak. If I were a Perakian (if there is such a word), I’d be worried right about now.