Friday, March 14, 2008

Deal on and ready all systems go in Perak

PKR, DAP an PAS have successfully averted an impasse after party leaders reached an amicable decision to reallocate the composition of the Perak state executive council posts last night.

PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali confirmed that the new composition will be six DAP, three PKR and one PAS to form the 10-person Perak state executive council.

Yesterday, PKR threatened to pull out from the Perak state administration upon hearing that eight posts will go to DAP.

"In the spirit of sincere openness, we stress that the composition of the exco must reflect the composition of the population of Perak and represent the interests of all ethnic groups fairly," said Syed Husin in a statement yesterday.

However, he said PKR will honour its agreement to support the coalition government with its representatives being part of the governing coalition in the state assembly without taking up any exco posts.

Syed Husin pointed out that the compromise was reached after both Perak and central leaders concluded their discussions last night.

"(PKR de facto leader) Anwar Ibrahim, (DAP veteran) Lim Kit Siang and PAS secretary-general Kamaruddin Jaafar were in communication with each other to resolve the issue," he said.

Two deputy MBs

Syed Husin also said that a second deputy MB post will be allocated to PKR. It is expected that Perak will follow Penang's example of naming two deputy MBs.

On Wednesday, it was decided between the parties that DAP chairperson and Setiawan state assemblyperson Ngeh Khoo Ham would be made deputy menteri besar (1) while an Indian candidate would be made deputy menteri besar (2).

From the list of Perak states assemblyperson, the only Indian candidate from PKR would be S Kesavan who won the Hutan Melintang state seat.

Kesavan - who is PKR youth deputy secretary - had defeated MIC women’s deputy chief S Thangasvari by 1,721 votes.

Syed Husin also said the new state government will appoint a PKR representative to be one of its two senators.

However, Syed Husin stressed the finalised names will be announced after PAS’ Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is sworn in as the new MB at the Istana Iskandariah in Kuala Kangsar.

Contentious issue

The forming of the Perak state government has been a contentious issue since the general election ended last weekend.

It began with the DAP leadership. Party stalwart Lim Kit Siang saying that the party had only agreed for a DAP or PKR menteri besar and objected Nizar’s appointment.

Lim later apologised over his objection after DAP was promised eight seats in the Perak state exco. Soon after PKR disagreed on the composition and declined to be part of the exco.

Drama ensured when the swearing-in ceremony for Nizar was called off due to some uncertainties as to whether the three parties will be able to work together to form a coalition, and a stable government, according to the royal palace.

The Regent of Perak Raja Nazrin Shah subsequently ordered all 31 state assemblypersons from the three parties to sign a letter in support of the regent's decision to appoint Nizar.

It has been learnt that all the signatures were submitted last night to Perak Sultan Azlan Shah’s secretary at 10pm.


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