A first: Indian-origin speaker in Malaysian legislature

April 2nd, 2008 - 2:46 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, April 2 (IANS) A state legislature in Malaysia is about to make history by appointing an ethnic Indian as its speaker. The ruling parties in Perak state have made a unanimous decision, although the legislator has not been named.

The likely candidate could be 37-year-old V. Sivakumar, legislator from Tronoh constituency, who won on the Democratic Action Party (DAP) nomination, The Star newspaper said.

“This will be a historic moment for Perak as well as the country. There has never been an Indian speaker in any of the 13 state assemblies since 1957,” said M. Kulasegaran, DAP national vice-chairman and MP from Ipoh Barat.

He Tuesday pointed out that in the hierarchy of the state government positions, the state assembly speaker was second only to that of the menteri besar (chief executive councillor or chief minister).

The announcement, that an ethnic Indian would be nominated as speaker, was made by Perak DAP chairman Ngeh Koo Ham Monday.

Besides meeting the aspirations of people of Indian origin in a changed political situation, the decision is also governed by the thin majority the government has.

The announcement came on the heels of the decision by the party’s Buntong state assemblyman A. Siva Subramaniam Monday to quit the DAP as he felt the Indians were being sidelined in the appointment to executive posts.

He later retracted his decision after party officials briefed him that Indians would be appointed to positions of power, including as speaker of the state assembly.

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