IPOH, Feb 3 — Perak plunged deeper into crisis today when the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government declared today that it would give the federal Election Commission (EC) 48 hours to review its decision not to hold the Behrang and Changkat Jering by-elections.
Senior executive councillor Ngeh Koo Ham told reporters today that if the EC does not change its mind, the Perak government would take necessary action.
He declined to say what action would be taken but it would likely involve challenging the federal authority’s decision in court.
“The EC is usurping the function of the speaker and has misconstrued its role. It is there to conduct elections not to decide whether or not there should be an election,” said the Perak DAP chief.
The Perak government appears determined to force polls for the two state seats in order to bring an end to the political uncertainty which plagues the state now.
Perak state assembly Speaker V Sivakumar had declared the two seats vacant after receiving resignation letters from two PKR lawmakers Jamaluddin Radzi and Osman Jailu, who had gone missing last week and were expected to defect to the opposition Barisan Nasional (BN).
But the two renegade PKR men now claim the said resignation letters were undated documents they signed after PR parties won the state in last year’s general election.
The expected defection of the two will result in the state government being left with only a wafer-thin one seat majority in the state legislature.
State PR officials are hoping to use by-elections, which the allied parties are confident of winning, to make the defections moot.
But the EC announced today that the two men had written to the Speaker to say their resignations were not valid, and this has cast doubt in the matter.
The political intrigue in the state looks set to continue as both PR and BN are understood to be actively trying to lure each other’s assemblymen.
With this scenario, the Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin is likely to be also considering the possibility of dissolving the assembly and calling for fresh elections.
In a press conference at the Perak DAP headquarters here, Ngeh added that it was not up to the speaker nor the EC to conduct any enquiry into the validity of the letters but to act on them.
“A dispute can be taken up in court. We are not saying there should be no avenue for redress but that grievances should be taken to the courts,” he said.
He added that while PR did not want to pursue the matter in court, it would have to weigh up its options once the 48 hours were up.
He said that the EC’s refusal to call by-elections clearly showed biasness against the PR government although he sidestepped questions of whether the EC was siding with BN.
Ngeh however said that the accusation of bias would be retracted if the EC reversed its decision.- malaysiainsider
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
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