Is it”EC’s Call..??”

In our article yesterday we asked,”Who’s right.?” Seems todays Malaysiakini report http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/97472 the EC today announced that by-elections are not necessary for the state seats of Changkat Jering and Behrang as there are doubts over the resignation letters said to have been submitted by the elected representatives.

There exists some doubts and the EC,””As such, EC decided that it cannot establish that vacancies have occurred.”Thus it will not be able to call by-elections.”By this, the EC has decided that it does not have the power to invoke Article 36(5) of the constitution of the state of Perak to establish that there are casual vacancies for both the constituencies,” “Therefore,we have decided that both the seats will remain (those of) the incumbents, who had won them (legally) in the last general election.”

However this did not go down well with the Perak government. The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government declared today that it would give the federal Election Commission (EC) 48 hours to review its decision. Senior Executive Councillor Ngeh Koo Ham said,”“The EC is usurping the function of the speaker and has misconstrued its role. It is there to conduct elections not to decide whether or not there should be an election.”

So the controversy will drag on. Now 48 hours is given to the EC to reverse its decision and this will create more political uncertainties in the state. We shall keep a watching brief……..

Who is Right..?? Duress..hmmm

Different opinions and the issue hangs  on the validity of the undated and pre-signed letters of resignation from the state’s two PKR assemblymen. This Malaysiakini report http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/97436 according to Perak DAP chairperson Ngeh Koo Ham,” “The speaker (of the Perak state assembly) accepted (the letters) because (these are) legal documents. The letters are valid and have been signed by them, unless they now say these are forgeries … but when you sign something, you (should) know what it is all about,” he said.

Well,we have covered this saga from various angles and the one that really amuses us is that of,”using duress again as the sole argument of affixing their signatures on a document.” It’s the same all tune and nothing comes to us as a surprise anymore when it comes to Malaysian politics. Where are the political genuises that use to roam the pathways of the political parties.?? Are they now considered RARE SPECIES…hmmm

In another related report Malaysiakini learns there is a likelihood that the matter could be first referred to the courts instead of the ballot boxes. The report which can be read http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/97404 an extract version is that ,”Under commercial law, lawyer Hasnal Rezua Merican said any pre-signed letter of resignation is questionable as it is illegal and morally wrong.

“A resignation letter cannot be made under duress. It can be considered as not genuine as the person may not have a true intention of resigning now. Furthermore, if a politician wishes to switch parties there is nothing hindering him from doing so.

However,EC chairman Tan Sri Aziz Yusof explained that the Federal Constitution is very clear on the powers of the Speaker in matters related to the law-making houses in Parliament and its state equivalent, the State Legislative Assembly.Regardless of disputes, the Speaker is the final authority in deciding whether there is a vacancy or not and the election body can and must take the Speaker’s word at its “face value” and call for by-elections soon.

“As such, matters pertaining to suspension of a member and the likes, the final say rests with the Speaker. He is the one who runs the House and his ruling is final.”

The stage is thus set and we have to await the decision of the EC after their meeting which is scheduled at 11.00am. The dispute is not as clearcut and dry as it seems as there are too many variables at hand which must be collectively argued but we know that Politics does not always follow constitutional laws and thats the NAME OF THE GAME. Who is right..?

The  time for negotiation has arrived” –F.W.de Klerk