Loss of Perak state splits Malaysian opposition

February 9th, 2009 - 2:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 9 (IANS) The loss of Perak state has caused a rift in Malaysia’s opposition alliance and an ethnic Indian leader has asked alliance chief Anwar Ibrahim to quit.

Karpal Singh, who is chairman of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), a constituent of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR), has said he would reconsider DAP’s continuation within the alliance.

He has also stirred a controversy by filing a suit against the Sultan of Perak, who is the constitutional head, for replacing the opposition chief minister last week.

Leaders of ruling alliance Barisan Nasional (BN) have said Singh’s action amounted to showing disrespect to the constitutional head.

But Singh has won approval of the Malaysian Bar Association whose president, Ambiga

Sreenevasan, also an ethnic Indian, says any citizen can be sued before court for justice and fair play.

Perak’s opposition-led government fell last week after some of its members crossed over to BN. But ousted chief minister Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin has refused to resign, saying he remains the chief minister.

This has been termed “an act of treason” by Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar who has threatened to act against anyone breaking the law to remain in office.

Perak state’s fall is seen as a serious setback for Ibrahim, who came to head an 88-strong opposition in parliament and control of four states after the elections in March last year.

Ibrahim’s threat to topple the government and “take over” by engineering defections have not materialised.

The New Straits Times newspaper Monday said it is as much a boost for deputy prime minister Najib Tun Razak, who is to succeed Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi next month.

Amused by Ibrahim’s “getting a taste of his own medicine”, Ibrahim’s political foe and long-time prime minister Mahathir Mohamad revelled in his blog that “Anwar will learn a lot of lessons from this drama”.

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