Will Perak Political Saga Drag On After Court Verdict?

While observers on both sides of the political divide are eagerly awaiting the verdict on who is the legitimate Menteri Besar of Perak tomorrow, the question remains whether both sides will accept the decision and put to rest the issue.

Perak has been caught in a political limbo, with Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir and Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin both claiming to be the rightful menteri besar.

Political analysts are of the opinion that, regardless of the decision, the ongoing tussle between the current state government under Barisan Nasional (BN) and the PAS-DAP-PKR coalition known as Pakatan rakyat (PR) will still drag on, at least until the next polls.

“If Zambry is declared as the rightful MB, somehow PR would continue to be dissatisfied. It would question the judiciary’s independence while at the same time harp on BN as being a temporary government,” said political analyst Dr Sivamurugan Pandian.

But if Nizar was declared as the legitimate menteri besar, he said the PAS politician may seek a fresh mandate but this would depend whether the state assembly could be dissolved or not.

The decision by the Federal Court is unlikely to satisfy everyone. If the decision is not in favour of Nizar, the Opposition will continue to question the legality of the BN state government.

“If Zambry wins, he has about two years to prove that his government is a legitimate government. Will the Opposition accept that in the next state sitting or will they continue to create chaos? Perak will continue to be in an uncertain situation unless both sides compromise after the court decision,” said Dr Sivamurugan, adding that both parties needed to understand that there was no need to prolong the dilemma.

“If Zambry wins, he might consider to reconcile. If Nizar loses, can he accept the legitimate state government until the next election?” asked Dr Siva.

According to findings released by the Merdeka Centre, an opinion research firm, last Friday, the first anniversary of the BN ruling Perak after the 2008 general election, 46 per cent of those polled backed Nizar while Zambry trailed closely with 44 per cent.

Nizar had a significant edge over Zambry when it came to the Chinese community (59 per cent for Nizar vs 16 per cent for Zambry) but Zambry led the race when it came to Malay support, securing 67 per cent as opposed to Nizar’s 35 per cent.

Perak state executive council member Dr Mah Hang Soon said BN realised that support from the people was still very much divided.

“But things are improving for us, the people are not as hostile as before. We believe that if we can continue to work hard and prove our economic plan, they will support us. The only thing is that we got to work hard, move forward and show that we can be a better government,” he said.

For the Opposition, it still regards the ultimate solution for the impasse is through a fresh poll.

“Nothing will change unless there is a fresh poll. I don’t see there is any other way out. Whatever the outcome of the court decision, it will not change public sentiment,” said DAP strategist and MP for Bukit Bendera, Liew Chin Tong.


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