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Perak crisis deepens (Updated 1pm)

IPOH, 3 March 2009: Despite being blocked from entering the state secretariat building by police this morning, the Perak state assembly was able to hold its sitting in a car park.

Bernama reports that state assembly Speaker V Sivakumar and 27 Pakatan Rakyat (PR) assemblypersons convened an “emergency sitting” under a tree, about 100m from the state assembly building today.

The sitting was held at 10.20am after the group was barred by police from entering the Perak Darul Ridzuan building, which houses the state assembly, apparently because it did not have the consent of the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah.

It was adjourned 25 minutes later after approving three motions.

The sitting was called last Friday by Sivakumar to debate, among others, two motions. One was to reaffirm support for embattled Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and the second was to seek dissolution of the state assembly and pave the way for fresh polls.


Police at the scene on the morning of 3 March 2009 (Pic courtesy of Merdeka Review)

Scuffle

Earlier, a scuffle occurred when the PR tried to enter the building grounds to attend the emergency sitting in the building.

Police only allowed Sivakumar into the building at about 9.45am and members of the public, including the media, were told to disperse.

Ipoh OCPD ACP Azisman Alias issued a warning he would arrest anyone, including elected representatives, who refused to disperse.

Police have since yesterday maintained tight security in the area, including closing several roads leading to the building.

Over 100 opposition supporters had gathered outside the building since early morning.

The main gate of the Perak Darul Ridzuan building in Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang has been closed since yesterday afternoon and only civil servants working there were allowed in today.

Police officers, including those from the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU), also guarded the back gate of the state assembly building.

The building houses the offices of the Perak menteri besar, state secretary and the state legislative assembly.

Newly appointed Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, from Umno, and state assembly secretary Abdullah Antong Sabri have claimed said Sivakumar’s action of calling for an emergency sitting was not valid because it did not have the consent of the Perak Sultan.

Sivakumar, however, has stated that his action was in accordance with the Perak state constitution.


State secretariat building on a more peaceful day

No locus standi

At the Ipoh High Court, the judge ruled that the lawyers representing Sivakumar have no locus standi to represent him in an application filed by Dr Zambry and the six executive councillors (exco) that were suspended by the Speaker.

Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim made the judgment in chambers.

Tommy Thomas, who is leading Sivakumar’s legal team, told reporters the ruling was made on the grounds that the Speaker was part of the state government.

As such, the judge ruled that only the state legal advisor could represent the Speaker in the court proceedings, Thomas said.

Dr Zambry and the six excos yesterday filed an application to court to declare their suspension for 18 and 12 months respectively by Sivakumar as null and void.

In the originating summons filed yesterday afternoon, they said Sivakumar’s actions violated the the Perak state constitution.

Zambry and the six excos also applied for a declaration that they had the right to attend and participate in all state assembly sittings and to discharge all their functions and responsibilities.

Sivakumar also suspended state assembly secretary Abdullah Antong with immediate effect yesterday for not being professional in conducting his duties.

Read live updates from The Edge

See also:
Tommy Thomas’ full statement

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