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Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Ipoh on Thursday, 5th February 2009: 

Najib should stop attempt at illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak and respect constitutional process and peopleís mandate

The Prime Minister-in-waiting, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who has taken over as Perak UMNO and Barisan Nasional leader, should stop the attempt at the illegal and unconstitutional grab for power in Perak and respect the constitutional process and the mandate of the people of Perak.

The Perak Pakatan Rakyat Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin yesterday had an audience with the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah to seek the dissolution of the Perak State Assembly and to hold state election, as returning the mandate to the voters is the most honourable and democratic manner to resolve the political crisis in Perak.

In his book ďConstitutional Monarchy, Rule of Law and Good GovernanceĒ (2004), the former Lord President wrote:

"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."

He also pointed out that no sultan or agung had withheld consent to dissolve legislative body, except in Kelantan in 1977.

While the Sultanís decision on the Mentri Besarís request for dissolution of the Perak State Assembly is awaited, it is most improper and unconstitutional for Najib to attempt an illegal and unconstitutional grab for power in Perak state to frustrate the will and wishes of the people of Perak in the March general election last year.

This is because the Pakatan Rakyat state government in Perak continues as a legitimate, effective and functioning one, even if the Mentri Besarís request for dissolution of the State Assembly is denied by the Sultan, and it is premature for Najib to talk about forming a new Barisan Nasional state government in Perak.

Article 16(6) of the Perak State Constitution provides for the dissolution of the State Assembly with the consent of the Sultan or the mentri besarís resignation if the mentri besar ceases to enjoy the confidence of the majority of the state assembly.

However, the determination of whether the Mentri Besar has lost the confidence of the majority of the state assembly could only be done by a vote of no confidence in the State Assembly, and not by a claim by Najib outside the State Assembly, especially when it is based on dubious and highly disputable grounds.

This is because Najibís claim that the Barisan Nasional has the necessary numbers in the State Assembly to form the government has still to be proved by way of a motion in the State Assembly.

Although Najib has engineered the defection of three Pakatan Rakyat state assembly persons, the Speaker of the Perak State Assembly had declared their seats vacant and their claims to continue as State Assembly representatives are not recognised by the Speaker in the Assembly.

Excluding the three defectors, there is at most a 28-28 tie between the Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional in the Perak State Assembly.

Until the Barisan Nasional can succeed in getting a vote of no confidence passed in the State Assembly, the Pakatan Rakyat Mentri Besar and state government should not be hindered from carrying out its tasks as the legitimate, effective and functioning state government.

I call on Najib to cease and desist from any attempt at illegal and unconstitutional grab of power in Perak State government in utter disregard of the constitutiodnal process and the mandate of the people of Perak as this will be a very ominous start for the Najib premiership which is to begin next month when Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi steps down as the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia.


*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor

 

 

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