BN leans towards fresh polls in Perak
THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
By Leslie Lau
KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — The consensus that emerged today among Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders is that even if the court of appeal rules in its favour this Thursday, it will still ask the Sultan of Perak to dissolve the state assembly to pave the way for fresh polls.
The Malaysian Insider understands that the Perak constitutional crisis was a major item on the agenda at today’s supreme council meeting of the ruling coalition.
The rationale for such a move is that the ruling coalition stands to lose more credibility and that perception that it is the villain in the Perak power grab would only grow.
A number of BN leaders told The Malaysian Insider that the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) had been effective in painting BN as the usurpers of power.
However, a time frame for elections has not been decided.
The BN supreme council is likely to meet again after Thursday’s court decision.
Perak’s constitutional crisis is now before the court of appeal as Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir has filed an appeal against the High Court ruling that Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin is the rightful mentri besar.
With no clear end to the deadlock in sight, both BN and PR have appeared amenable to cooperating to find a solution to the impasse.
But PR, led by opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, is insisting that a fresh election must be part of the equation, a condition that BN has been reluctant to agree to.
At a press conference today, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had indicated that any talks with PR over the Perak crisis would only happen after Thursday’s court decision.
Even if the court of appeal decides in favour of Zambry, the ruling coalition is still stuck with the dilemma of having to rely on the backing of three defectors to remain in power.
Currently, both BN and PR have an equal number of seats in the state assembly, with the three BN-friendly independents tilting in its favour.
But two of the three assemblymen still face corruption charges, while the third, the former DAP lawmaker Hee Yit Foong, has been vilified to such an extent that she does not risk showing up at her own constituency.
The reason for BN’s softening position is also likely due to a growing feeling among some of its leaders that it may want to cut its losses or risk having the anti-BN feeling grow further.
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently suggested that it was a foregone conclusion that BN would lose fresh polls.
Some BN lawmakers in Perak are also said to be keen on convening an emergency sitting of the state assembly to finally gauge once and for all the support it needs to legitimately run the state government.
But there is a growing consensus that such an administration will continue to be beset with controversy and legal challenges from PR.