Updated 6.32pm, 6 May 2009
IPOH, 6 May 2009: Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir has admitted that it is unnecessary to remove Speaker V Sivakumar, but says the Barisan Nasional (BN) prefers a “friendly” chair in the state assembly.
Zambry, who is BN’s appointee, was asked about the need to remove Sivakumar, who is a DAP assemblyperson, when parliamentary democracies allow for the speaker and head of government to be from opposite sides of the political divide.
“Nothing wrong, but he [or she] must be friendly,” said Zambry at a press conference today. The Pangkor assemblyperson has a PhD in political thought and masters in political philosophy and comparative religion.
Zambry on 23 April had filed a motion with the state legislative assembly secretary to remove Sivakumar and elect a new speaker.
When asked today about the chances of his motion being voted on tomorrow at the legislative assembly sitting, Zambry said changing the speaker was “not the most important thing”, and that the smooth running of government was.
He said “wait and see” when asked what he would do if Sivakumar rejected his motion.
Zambry was also asked about the possibility of Sivakumar adjourning the sitting sine die (indefinitely) after it was opened by the Raja Muda of Perak Raja Nazrin Shah.
“Whatever done must be done according to the rules. I still hope my motion will be heard,” he said.
On seating arrangements in the House in view of both BN and Pakatan Rakyat claiming to be the rightful government, Zambry said he did not want to “quarrel over the matter”.
“By convention, the government of the day sits on the right side of the speaker. But if the speaker decides otherwise tomorrow, what can we do?
“The more important thing is that BN has the majority in the house.”
He said he was confident that all 28 BN assemblypersons and the three “BN-friendly” independents would attend the sitting tomorrow.
Zambry also declined to comment when asked about former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad‘s statement today that the BN’s takeover of the Perak government was “hasty” and that there was no provision for rulers to remove menteris besar.
“That’s his view. It’s premature for me to comment when the court is still deciding,” he said, referring to the ongoing hearing in the Kuala Lumpur High Court on whether he or Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is the rightful menteri besar.
Meanwhile, in a separate press conference, Sivakumar said he had received three additional motions on electing new members of three legislative committees — the Standing Orders Committee, Rights and Privileges Committee and the Public Accounts Committee.
The two motions submitted earlier were to remove him as the speaker and to elect a new one.
Coy on whether he would approve any of the motions, Sivakumar reiterated the speaker’s powers to reject any motion.
“Whether I am going to reject or not, is a question mark,” he said.
Sivakumar was also non-committal when asked about other possible actions he could exercise tomorrow, such as refusing entry to Zambry and the six Barisan Nasional executive councillors, and where he would ask Zambry and Nizar to sit.
He was also coy about whether assembly secretary Abdullah Antong Sabri who is to take the minutes tomorrow, would still perform that duty given that Sivakumar had suspended him.
“Just see tomorrow. It’s not that I want to be secretive but some things you’ll have to wait and see,” he said.
Show some muscle … it is time for the courts and those people to learn something on democratic practices.