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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

No quick end to Perak deadlock

KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 – By Baradan Kuppusamy | malaysianinsider

The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) suffered twin blows a day after a euphoric victory at the courts – it failed to get the Perak legislature dissolved for a fresh election and the Court of Appeal today granted a stay of yesterdat's court decision which effectively reinstates Datuk Dr Zambry Kadir as Mentri Besar.

Lawyers say that Zambry can now remain Mentri Besar until his appeal to against yesterday's High Court decision declaring Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin the rightful Mentri Besar, is decided.

Even then both parties, depending on who wins at the Court of Appeal, can appeal the decision to the Federal Court.

“We are looking at between three to nine months for both courts to dispose of the case,” said a senior lawyer not connected with either PR or the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, who declined to be named.

Court of Appeal judge Ramly Mohd Ali, sitting as a one-man panel, gave a stay today after hearing arguments from both sides for over two hours.

Lawyers said although a one-man panel is unusual it has been done before and without controversy.

Zambry's lawyers argued that granting the stay was important to stop Nizar from seeking the Perak Sultan’s approval to dissolve the state legislature.

In the short time that PR returned to power in Perak, they appointed councillors to 14 local councils, reduced parking fees from 50 sen to 30 sen and ordered the Land Office to issue freehold titles to people living in new villagers – all populists policies that would endear them further with the people.

But with Dr Zambry reinstated, the situation is back to square one with all PR decisions reversed, including the suspension of key officials believed to be hostile to PR.

The Malaysian Insider understands that Nizar failed to convince the palace to dissolve the state assembly largely because he does not enjoy the confidence of the majority of the elected representatives and the palace also wanted to see how the Dr Zambry appeal was resolved.

Nizar cancelled a press conference called for 11am to announce the dissolution of the assembly.

He left the talking to senior executive council members Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham and Nga Kor Ming.

Both leaders, along with V. Sivakumar, argued that the Tronoh assemblyman remains the legitimate Speaker.

They also argued that BN cannot call an emergency session of the assembly to take a confidence vote.

However the Bar Council and political leaders including veteran Umno leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah say the only way to resolve the crisis is to call for a fresh election and let the people decide.

Several independent observers however say fresh elections might not necessarily see PR returned with a big majority.

“The numbers are unlikely to change except marginally, if at all, because as the recent by-election results show both coalitions have their solid hardcore supporters,” said a retired politician.

“The outcome might be narrow and the problem would persist unless both coalitions learn to co-operate and work together for the benefit of the people and not use the narrow space dividing them to upstage one another,” he said.

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