Ethnic Indian speaker ejected from Malaysian state assembly (Lead)

May 7th, 2009 - 7:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Ipoh (Malaysia), May 7 (IANS) Perak state legislature in Malaysia Thursday witnessed ejection of the speaker and installation of another, both ethnic Indians, amid day-long chaos.
The Perak assembly adjourned after ugly shouting and the ejection of Speaker V. Sivakumar, who was carried out by policemen.

R. Ganesan, a former legislator belonging to the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) and the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN), was installed in his place.

Despite the political turmoil, Perak’s Regent and constitutional head, Raja Nazrin Shah, delivered his royal address after waiting for several hours.

However, “he (Shah) did not touch on the state’s political flux nor the verbal brawls in the house,” NST Online, website of the New Straits Times reported at the end of a tumultuous day.

“The regent instead focused on praising both the state and federal Governments for ensuring growth and prosperity in Perak,” it said.

Police was called more than once to quell angry shouting among legislators.

As the session began, Sivakumar refused to start proceedings for as long as Menteri Besar (chief minister) Zambry Abdul Kadir, his six executive councillors (ministers) and three Independent legislators, whom he had suspended two months ago, were in the house.

Immediately after taking his seat at about 10 a.m., Sivakumar ordered Kadir and his colleagues to leave.

With both parties claiming right to the speaker’s chair, tauntings and booing continued and at one point, they almost got physical, said the website of the New Straits Times.

Sivakumar’s voice could not be heard clearly as his microphone was turned off.

The new Speaker R. Ganesan adjourned the session for an hour with Sivakumar claiming it was null and void.

The genesis of the crisis lies in the change of government in Perak in February.

The opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat (PR) won the election held in March last year. However, the government lost majority following defections.

The royal head of the state swore in a new government headed by Kadir, but Sivakumar refused to recognise the “new majority” in the house.

As the house proceedings began Thursday, former chief minister Mohammed Nizar Jamaluddin and his former ministers occupied the seats on the treasury benches meant for the chief minister and the ministers.

This led Kadir and his ministers to sit on the opposition benches, Star Online said, giving a blow-by-blow account from what it called “Battleground Ipoh”.

There was also an attempt to take the matter afresh to the judiciary. M. Kulasegaran of the opposition alliance moved court to seek injunction against the proceedings.

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