Malaysia: Opposition lawmakers hold meeting under tree

Updated On: Mar 09, 2009

In a bizarre turn to Perak’s month-long legislative power struggle between opposition legislators of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition and legislators of the Barisan Nasional coalition government, the opposition lawmakers held an “emergency sitting” under a tree after being denied entrance into the Perak state assembly building.

Standing in the shade of a large tree, the 28 lawmakers of the opposition People's Alliance coalition passed several resolutions, calling for the parliament to be dissolved and fresh elections to be held to end a constitutional deadlock with the ruling National Front coalition on who should govern Perak.

The leadership of Perak has been in chaos since early February.

In early February, three People's Alliance lawmakers defected amid allegations of bribery, tipping the balance in the 59-member state parliament in favor of the National Front.

Soon afterward, the state's titular head, Sultan Azlan Shah, appointed National Front politician Zambry Abd Kadir as chief minister and head of a new government.

Deposed of Chief Minister Nizar Jamaluddi has refused to go quietly, saying a fresh election was the only constitutional and democratic way to elect a new state government.

"This is a sad day for democracy when the lawful state assembly has to convene under an angsana tree," Mr Nizar told AFP news agency after he and other lawmakers were chased away from the state assembly building by police and pro-government supporters.

"This is utter rubbish. Elected representatives are not allowed to go inside. It is not in accordance with the law. The police are practicing double standards," said A. Sivanesan, an opposition legislator.

The political tussle in Perak is emblematic of the growing divide in Malaysian politics,…..


BBC News, Power struggle in Malaysian state, 3 March 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7920468.stm

International Herald Tribune, Malaysian opposition blocked from state parliament, 3 March 2009, http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2009/03/03/asia/AS-Malaysia-Politics.php

Reuters, India, Malaysia opposition meets under tree, calls poll, 3 March 2009, http://in.reuters.com/article/asiaCompanyAndMarkets/idINKLR1566020090303...

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