Chin Tong: State polls best way to resolve Perlis MB dispute

DAP strategist Liew Chin Tong said the public may not like having another election. He was speaking after attending a forum in Kangar.

KANGAR: A state election for Perlis may be the best way to resolve the current dispute over the choice of menteri besar, DAP strategist Liew Chin Tong said today.

Liew said Perlis had not been able to set up the state government, even after almost a month, due to the internal Umno spat.

“It has been almost a month after the general election concluded. After so many weeks, if they still cannot settle, they may as well call for state elections.

“That is part of democracy. The democratic process must be allowed to take place. They must find a solution.

“I think it is the best way. I believe in democracy.

“If you cannot solve it at that level, you’ve to go back to the people,” he told reporters after attending as a guest at a forum titled “Puasa: Agama vs Budaya” (Fasting: Religion vs Culture), held at the Tuanku Syed Putra Jamallulail Mosque here this evening.

Earlier today, Liew held a meeting with Perlis DAP leaders and members. He told them to be prepared for the possibility of a state election.

Malaysia’s smallest state has come under the national spotlight following its failure to form the state government.

Azlan Man, who is Bintong BN assemblyman, was sworn in as the new menteri besar at Istana Arau before Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamallulail. However, nine BN assemblymen were absent from the ceremony as they had been flown from Perlis to Kuala Lumpur the night before.

The boycott by the nine incurred the wrath of the Perlis ruler, who voiced his displeasure and anger over their absence as the invitation had been sent out several days earlier.

Perlis Umno chairman Shahidan Kassim subsequently said that Azlan would be sacked from Umno. The Perlis BN chairman had also reportedly asked the Perlis ruler not to interfere in the state’s administration.

Despite the swearing in of Azlan as menteri besar, Perlis remains the only state without a government in place.

BN had secured a two-thirds majority in the northern state, winning 10 out of 15 state seats it contested.

Pakatan Harapan (PH) had won three state seats (Kuala Perlis, Sena and Indera Kayangan), while PAS secured Sanglang and Guar Sanji.

Kedah needs a speaker

Liew, meanwhile, said he did not expect a state election to be called in Kedah although the issue of who would be the state assembly speaker had yet to be resolved.

He said the matter could be easily resolved if both sides agreed to a mutually agreeable non-partisan candidate to be the speaker.

“I don’t see a state election happening in Kedah. The situation is not as serious as here (Perlis),” he said when asked to comment on the matter.

The strategist pointed out that as much as possible, either side would want to avoid a state election, as it would trouble the people and would also be a waste of money.

He also said that people might not like having another election as what they wanted was for the leaders to start administering the state.

“Of course, the threat of a state election will always be there if they cannot agree to a certain formula.”

Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir had reportedly expressed hope that the opposition assemblymen would accept PH’s choice for the state assembly speaker.

The Jitra assemblyman was reported by Utusan Online as saying that in the event the house was equally divided, a vote from the speaker would have to be considered.

He said there was a possibility of state elections being called if there was no agreement on the choice of speaker.

In the recently-concluded 14th general election, PH won 18 seats, but was one short of the simple majority of 19. The remaining seats were won by PAS with 15 seats and Barisan Nasional with three seats.
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