Sultan Azlan’s decision to allow Barisan Nasional (BN) to form a new Government in Perak has incurred the wrath of many people.
But one must understand that legally, the Sultan of Perak can accept the “new” Government once it is confirmed that a certain group of people have the majority in the State Assembly. The Sultan has that discretion.
In Perak, BN has gone to Sultan Azlan with numbers indicating that they have that majority needed. Once one party or group can show that to any State Ruler, that group will likely get the nod to form the next Government.
His Highness had 2 options:
1. to dissolve the State Assembly since the State Assembly is a “hung” Assembly, with Pakatan Rakyat (PR) having 28 seats, equal to BN; or
2. to allow BN to form the State Government because the 3 new Independent State Assemblypersons have pledged allegiance to BN, giving BN the edge here.
His Highness chose Option 2.
I will respect that decision, but I will not agree with it.
In my view the State Ruler had to call for elections in these circumstances, as the State Assembly is clearly an Assembly in deadlock. Both parties having 28 seats, and the 3 so-called Independents can easily re-switch allegiance back to PR. [When the PR State Government was formed last year after the 8 March tsunami, the PR candidates were requested by the Sultan to provide personal written undertakings of allegiance to PR before the Sultan was satisfied that PR commanded the majority of the Assembly. But this time around, no similar request for written undertakings was made.] What then, if that happens?
This is a precarious situation to leave the State in, and as such, new elections should have been called.
I will concede that there is every chance that after the elections, the State Assembly may still remain in a deadlock. But that would be the will of the people, and that is the will which we must respect. For we have declared ourselves in 1963 as a Malaysia which practices democracy, and with democracy, comes the duty to accept the will of the people.
In fact, looking back at the March 2008 elections, statistics will show that over 50% of the voters in Perak voted for the PR alliance. That itself should have been taken into account by the Sultan.
I will not recognise this “new” Perak Government for it was not formed at the front corridors of the State Assembly Hall, but in the dark alleys of Politics.
However PR supporters must look at themselves and remember that Anwar Ibrahim, de-facto leader of PR has long championed the right to hop parties. He was supposed to form a new Federal Government using the very method that BN has used in Perak. I was not in support of that move then, and I remain opposed to a Government formed this way.
I must – nonetheless defend Anwar Ibrahim on one point – that he had mentioned many times that IF he is to form a new Government (and it was by way of a motion of no confidence in Parliament against the Prime Minister) by inviting people from other parties to join PR, he intends to call for snap elections as soon as he can. That would suggest that he is still sincere in trying to form a morally-elected Government. Nonetheless, that still does not change my personal view that to switch parties is incorrect and immoral.
Is anti-party-hopping laws the way forward? I would say this – that the integrity, honesty and sincerity expected of an elected Assemblyperson or MP cannot be adjudicated by law, but by the inner morality of that person.
My message to all Political Parties, choose your candidate well!