Thursday, May 07, 2009

Chaotic Perak Legislative Assembly: Was removal of Speaker lawful?

YB Sivakumar was supposedly removed as Speaker of Perak State Legislative Assembly by a motion tabled by YB Dr Zambry this morning when the Deputy Speaker was chairing the meeting from her assemblyman’s seat in the presence of the Speaker who was then still occupying the Speaker’s chair.

The office of Speaker is provided by the constitution. As such, the election and removal of the Speaker shall be conducted in accordance with the relevant provisions of the constitution. Any departure from or contravention of the relevant constitutional provisions will render the proceeding unconstitutional and unlawful.

Article XXXVIA(3)of the Perak State Constitution provides that whenever the Speaker is not present at the meeting of the House, another member of the House shall, in accordance with the provision of the Standing Order, be appointed to carry out the duties of the Speaker.

It is crystal clear that the Deputy Speaker has acted ultra vires the state constitution in chairing the meeting that removed YB Sivakumar as the Speaker when Sivakumar was present in the House. The motion passed to remove YB Sivakumar was therefore unconstitutional.

Consequently, the election of the “new” Speaker was unconstitutional as there was no vacancy to fill.