Thursday, March 13, 2008

political animal: ethical dilemma

Malaysia's opposition tussles over northern state - Malaysia's fragile opposition alliance quarrelled Thursday over control of one of the states seized in weekend elections, forcing the swearing-in of the chief minister to be postponed. In their first open sign of discord, the three opposition parties disagreed over the selection of chief minister, due to be installed Thursday, and the make-up of Perak's state cabinet. The Chinese-based Democratic Action Party (DAP) claimed most seats in the northern state but a candidate from the Islamic party PAS was chosen as chief minister in a power-sharing deal opposed by the third party Keadilan. Perak's royal palace, which was due to conduct the ceremony, said it had been delayed and did not indicate when it could be rescheduled. "There are some uncertainties as to whether the three parties... are able to work together to form a coalition, and form a stable government," the royal palace said, according to the official Bernama news agency. The loose opposition alliance made huge strides in weekend elections, claiming one-third of parliamentary seats and four more states from the Barisan Nasional coalition. However, the disparate group of parties is struggling to put aside their ideological differences to form various coalitions in the newly claimed states. -- MORE


DAP objects to choice of PAS candidate for Perak MB: DAP has instructed all its 18 state assemblymen to boycott the swearing-in ceremony of Perak PAS liaison secretary Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as menteri besar.
In a statement yesterday, party adviser Lim Kit Siang said DAP is protesting Nizar’s appointment as he represents the third and smallest in the DAP-PKR-Pas coalition. He claimed that the party central executive commite had given the approval for the formation of a coalition government headed by DAP or PKR, and not Pas.
Perak DAP chairman Ngeh Koo Ham had been the party’s choice for MB…

DAP throws spanner in Perak govt plan: IPOH: The coalition government in Perak stood on the brink of collapse yesterday after the DAP protested against the appointment of a Pas candidate as menteri besar. All 18 DAP state assemblymen were instructed by their party leaders to stay away from the swearing-in ceremony of state Pas liaison secretary Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin at Istana Iskandariah in Kuala Kangsar at 4pm today. It was announced earlier yesterday that Mohammad Nizar would be appointed menteri besar with two deputies, one of whom was the state DAP chief Ngeh Koo Ham. The second deputy was to be an Indian state assemblyman of Parti Keadilan Rakyat whose name will be announced today. PKR has seven state seats with Hutan Melintang assemblyman S. Kesavan being the only Indian. Two posts of deputy menteri besar were created for the first time, paving the way for a balanced representation of the three major races. But in an about-turn, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang in a statement late yesterday, said that the appointment of Nizar as menteri besar had cau-sed "shock and consternation" among DAP leaders, members and supporters. The party, it was stated, was prepared to accept Ngeh, who is the assemblyman for Sitiawan, or PKR Behrang assemblyman Jamalud-din Mohd Radzi as Perak menteri besar. DAP is protesting the appointment of Nizar as menteri besar as he represents only the third and smallest political party in the coalition. Pas won six state seats. Furthermore, the DAP central executive committee (CEC) which met in Penang on Sunday, had not given the party's approval for Pas to assume the menteri besar's post. The statement added that the DAP CEC had given the approval for the formation of a Perak coalition government headed by DAP or PKR, but not Pas.

Letter shows all parties agreed to sultan’s choice: KUALA LUMPUR: The Istana Kinta in Perak last night made available copies of a letter which stated that the Perak DAP had earlier agreed to a menteri besar of the Sultan of Perak's choice. The letter, dated March 11, was signed by Ngeh Koo Ham as Perak DAP chairman, Perak Pas Commissioner Ahmad Awang and Perak PKR chairman Zulkifly Ibrahim. They had unanimously agreed to abide by Sultan Azlan Shah's choice as to who would be appointed as Perak menteri besar. -- Bernama

Raja Nazrin orders 31 coalition signatures agreeing to cooperate, Nizar as MB: In a meeting with Nizar and the other two MB nominees, Ngeh Koo Ham of the DAP and PKR’s Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi at Istana Kinta in Ipoh, Raja Nazrin instructed them to collect the signatures of all 31 assemblymen under the coalition to state that:
  • agree to work together and cooperate under the coalition government;
  • and also agree to Nizar as the collective choice as Mentri Besar.
The meeting at Istana Kinta unfolded at 2.30pm while VIPs were arriving as the swearing-in at Istana Iskandariah in Kuala Kangsar. By 4.45pm, after Raja Nazrin issued his instruction, all guests left Istana Iskandariah after receiving word that the swearing-in was indefinitely postponed.

Although Nizar’s appointment provoked a disapproving outburst from DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang yesterday, the palace insisted that Nizar was the apt choice, given that the coalition had given their three names for the Sultan of Perak to make the selection. Lim had earlier instructed all the 18 DAP state assemblymen in Perak to stay away from the ceremony as he did not agree to the selection of the PAS representative as the Menteri Besar. Lim later apologised and retracted his statement.

Haggling on who should be in the Exco compelled more negotiations into late afternoon. In a statement revealing Raja Nazrin’s instruction, Ngeh denied that the postponement was due to the PKR's threat to pull out of the coalition because they didn't get their Exco seat allocation.

Later, the postponement was announced by Comptroller of the Royal Household at the Istana Iskandariah, Datuk Seri Raja Mansor Raja Razman.

Meanwhile, Istana Kinta said in a statement to Bernama that the postponement was in view of the latest development that showed that the DAP, PKR and PAS had not reached a strong consensus in forming the coalition government. The statement, signed by the Private Secretary to the Sultan of Perak, Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohamad Nor, said Raja Dr Nazrin Shah had ordered that the swearing-in ceremony be postponed.

“In the light of recent developments, it appears to his Royal Highness The Regent of Perak Darul Ridzwan, that there are some uncertainties as to whether the three parties, DAP, PKR, PAS are able to work together to form a coalition, and form a stable government. As a consequence, His Royal Highness The Regent of Perak Darul Ridzwan has directed that the appointment and swearing in ceremony of the Menteri Besar scheduled for this afternoon be postponed.” However, the statement did not indicate when the ceremony would be held.

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