Two speakers cause chaos at Malaysian state assembly

May 7th, 2009 - 4:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Ipoh (Malaysia), May 7 (IANS) The Perak state legislature witnessed chaotic scenes Thursday with two presiding officers, both ethnic Indians, belonging to rival alliances trying to conduct the proceedings.
The commotion that ensued left the Regent of Perak Raja Nazrin Shah waiting in the holding Royal Room for the official opening of the assembly session, Bernama, the official news agency said.

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

Attempts to make R. Ganesan, a former legislator who belongs to the ruling alliance Barisan Nasional (BN), the new speaker were thwarted by the present speaker V. Sivakumar.

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 has refused to recognise what he calls 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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