Malaysian Indian speaker criticised for suspending ministry

February 20th, 2009 - 12:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur/Ipoh, Feb 20 (IANS) V. Sivakumar, the Malaysian Indian speaker of Perak assembly, has invited criticism from within his opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat (PR) for suspending the entire state ministry.
PR leaders are “shaking their heads in disbelief” over the suspension last Wednesday of Menteri Besar (chief minister) Zambry Abdul Kadir and his six exco members (ministers) by Sivakumar for 18 months and 12 months respectively, New Straits Times said Friday.

Even Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Karpal Singh, a prominent lawyer and ethnic Indian leader, “is stumped”, the newspaper noted.

Karpal Singh told mediapersons at parliament house that Sivakumar must call for the assembly to meet to endorse his decision.

Sivakumar has also earned the wrath of the federal government, run by rival alliance Barisan Nasional (BN).

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmed Badawi, who also heads the BN, asked suspended chief minister Kadir to lodge a police complaint against Sivakumar and continue to attend the assembly along with his ministers in defiance of the suspension order.

Badawi also rejected a suggestion that Perak assembly be dissolved and fresh elections take place.

Malaysian Bar Council chief, Ambiga Sreenewasan, also an ethnic Indian, mooted this, saying it was best “to go to the people” to resolve the political crisis.

Badawi said Sivakumar’s action was a ploy to topple the BN government in Perak that itself took office when a PR government lost majority after some of its members defected.

Kadir and his ministers were “appointed by the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah. The action taken by the Speaker V. Sivakumar to suspend them is regarded as not respecting, objecting and rejecting the Sultan’s decision”, Badawi said.

The prime minister said the situation in the state was becoming not only worse, but ridiculous.

Perak, along with Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, has large chunks of ethnic Indian population that numbers an estimated two million-plus and forms eight percent of Malaysia’s population.

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