4 Feb 2009:
Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin announces Perak state assembly would be dissolved awaiting consent from Perak Sultan.
This was the PR's last ditch attempt to derail the coup. Appealing to the people was the only option left, since all other official avenues were blatantly being manipulated by UMNO. But it was already too late. They were caught in the trap, and the “strategic friendlies” were guarding the escapes.
YB Nizar was probably reluctant to ask the Sultan's consent to dissolve the DUN earlier because strictly speaking, 3 party resignations could not justify a State election of 59 seats! (In this regard, I believe YB Nizar acted responsibly in safeguarding the State's and the PR parties' finances & integrity. Doing the right thing was more important than clinging on to power at all cost. But it was politically naïve to play by the rules when facing a street brawler like UMNO/BN.)
However, faced with the prospect of losing the government, YB Nizar now had no choice.
But then, we can see more odd things happening.
Constitutionally, the Sultan MUST follow the advice of the MB. So if the MB advises Baginda that the State Assembly is to be dissolved and fresh elections held, the Sultan by convention MUST consent. Even Baginda Sultan Perak himself said so in his 2004 book.
But when YB Nizar informed Baginda Sultan, he was told to wait. This was highly irregular. Why did the Sultan not give consent right away, since Baginda was bound by the State constitution to decide according to the MB's advice? No reason was given, neither by Baginda Sultan nor YB Nizar.
Was the Sultan waiting for instructions what to do next?! If so, from whom? Who was it that had such arrogant disregard for Baginda Sultan to manipulate him this way?
That question is open for speculation, and we may never know for sure. What we do know is that Baginda Sultan met with Najib and gang several more times – once privately, once with YB Nizar, and once more together with the all the BN & defecting YBs. All within just a few hours!
What compelled Baginda to give such undue attention to the Perak Opposition party – UMNO/BN? Why did they have the privilege of so many audiences with Baginda Sultan when it was obvious that what they were attempting was an illegal power grab? What right had Najib to negotiate Perak politics with the Sultan when he was NOT the Perak Opposition Leader nor even an elected rep in Perak? Why was the Sultan so interested in the party that was blatantly manipulating the system and breaking the law?! As the former Lord President, Baginda Sultan would NOT have missed these points!
So many questions...so few answers.
In the face of such irregularities, for YB Nizar to still diplomatically say that he was awaiting consent from the Sultan spoke of his great restraint and respect for the Sultan. But he was right to expect the Sultan to consent because any other decision would be unconstitutional and absolutely extraordinary.
The four defectors are present when the DPM announces that BN have the numbers to form the Perak government as three PKR and a DAP reps have resigned from their respective parties. Perak now comprises 28 BN seats, 28 PR seats and three independent seats.
It was extremely irregular for Najib to make such an announcement.
By no stretch of the imagination can 28 PR vs 28 BN be considered a majority for BN!
Special note must be made that the Perak 3 DID NOT DEFECT. They merely resigned from their respective parties and they did not join the Perak Opposition party.
The BN & PR have equal number of seats. The 3 who resigned are Independents – not bound by party discipline or subject to the party whips. In a truly free democracy, this would be a good development as no one party held absolute majority. As the third bloc in the Dewan, the 3 Independents could provide a swing vote either way. This is extremely beneficial for the rakyat as it can act as the voice of conscience for the Dewan to ensure only laws that benefit the people are passed.
Unfortunately, this being Malaysia, the idea of working for the people is a distant 2nd or 3rd to partisan loyalties. So Najib announced the unusual concept of “independent but loyal to BN” and declared victory. Even though “Independent”, the Perak 3 allowed themselves to be herded like goats into the BN menagerie. For what reason, is open to speculation.
And nobody would have missed the fact that Ms Hee looked as if she had just come from a close relative's funeral. While the rest of the UMNO men were grinning like wolves who had blown down the little piggy's house. Surely it was not all just candy being used to entice the Perak 3!
But why so impatient? Why coudn't Najib wait until the 3 properly joined the BN to declare victory? If Najib knew he had the numbers, why not wait for the State assembly to convene then move a no-confidence vote against Nizar? They would still have grabbed power and it would have been constitutional.
Was this Najib's show of power - for the benefit of the coming UMNO General Assembly? Was this his way to demonstrate that he will be a “strong” leader for UMNO? Was this his message to Malaysians not to mess with him?
Furthermore, Najib presumed that Baginda Sultan Perak would consent for them to form the State government, even though the BN had no clear majority. How did he know that the Sultan would overstep his constitutional boundaries - reject the legitimate PR government's right to call for re-elections and approve the BN's illegal power-grab? Had it already been pre-arranged? Had Najib somehow arm-twisted the Sultan to obtain the answer he wanted?
The fact that the Sultan did not immediately give consent for state elections was foreboding. But most Perakians expected Baginda to do the right thing as Baginda is known as a person of great integrity and wisdom.
However, they would be greatly disappointed.
to be continued...