Sunday, March 09, 2008

Three Menteris Besar From PAS, One Each From DAP And PKR

UPDATE 3: Another one about the Perak MB from Malaysiakini. Looks like they laid the difficult decision on the Perak Regent's lap. But I can think of no better person to make such a momentous decision than HRH Raja Nazrin 'a place under the Malaysian sun for all' Shah.

Whoever the MB of the Perak coalition govt is, I hope he will make frequent use of Raja Nazrin's counsel.

PKR offers itself for Perak MB post
Mar 10, 08 5:25pm

Representatives of DAP, PKR and PAS today sought an audience with the Regent of Perak to inform him that the coalition was ready to form a state government in Perak.

Malaysiakini learnt that a list containing three potential Menteri Besar candidates - one each from the parties - were submitted to the Regent to be extended to the Sultan, who is presently away.

It is also learnt that in an agreement between the opposition parties, DAP has agreed to give PKR the menteri besar post, and in return DAP would have seven representatives in the state exco. PAS and PKR will have two each, including the menteri besar.

Constitutional requirement

The state constitution however has a requirement that the Menteri Besar post be only given to a Malay Muslim, effectively making DAP's non-eligible for the post. However, there is a provision in the state constitution that allows the Perak Sultan to waive this requirement at his discretion.

At a press conference later Ahmad told reporters that party grassroots have been instructed not to deem the new state government a "PAS government" should the Menteri Besar post be given to a PAS assemblyperson.

"The Menteri Besar doesn't represent the party. He is a Menteri Besar of the coalition government," said Ahmad, who is also one of the four PAS vice-presidents.

Asked if the large non-Muslim population in Perak would react negatively should a PAS member be made Menteri Besar, Ahmad said that the public should not worry unnecessarily. "Don't worry. All decisions would be made collectively. We cannot make decisions unilaterally," he said.

Meanwhile, another PAS vice-president Husam Musa stressed that even if the Sultan chooses a Menteri Besar from PAS, there would not be drastic social changes that would affect non-Muslims. "It is more important that the new state government is run prudently and cleanly," said Husam, who is in Perak to pay a courtesy call to the new state government.

Husam said that the party would back the Sultan's decision on the choice of Menteri Besar even if the candidates were from DAP or PKR.
UPDATE 2: More reports of the horse trading going on for the Perak MB from Malaysiakini:
PKR offers itself for Perak MB post
Chan Kok Leong | Mar 10, 08 11:32am

While the leading opposition party in Perak, DAP met to discuss who they would support for the state's Menteri Besar position, PKR held theirs in Segambut, Kuala Lumpur. Although, it was not known what was discussed in the closed door meeting, PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim told the media that there was a likelihood that the next Perak MB will be from PKR.

On the suggestion that DAP might have a problem with nominating one of their own as the next MB as there is a state criteria of having a Muslim as the head of state, Anwar gave a mixed answer.

"No the DAP is not troubled by the Muslim criteria. I've spoken to YB Lim Kit Siang, other DAP leaders and have been in communication with PAS leaders.

"DAP has the most number of seats in Perak but they think that for the smooth transition, we are considering having a Malay MB with a Chinese and Indian participation."

Asked if a PKR representative would be picked instead, he said, "There is a likelihood and we will discuss this further”.

In the fight for the Perak state assembly, DAP won all 18 of the seats in contested. PKR won seven and PAS took six, to make it 31 seats in total out of the 59 state seats available, winning with a simple majority to rule the state. BN won the remaining 28 seats.

It is also learnt that in an agreement between the opposition parties, DAP has agreed to give PKR the menteri besar post, and in return DAP would have seven representatives in the state exco. PAS and PKR will have two each, including the menteri besar.
UPDATE 1: From Malaysiakini:
Pesuruhjaya PAS Ahmad Awang memberitahu Malaysiakini petang ini, keputusan melantik Mohamad Nizar belum muktamad dan dijangka dapat dipastikan petang esok.

Katanya, calon menteri besar [Perak] itu mestilah seorang berbangsa Melayu dan boleh dipilih daripada sembilan wakil rakyat PAS dan PKR.
This changes the complexion of things considerably and I reserve the option to change (possibly drastically) my opinion of Mohd Nizar's appointment in my original post below. This ethnic primacy garbage was not what I and thousands upon thousands of Perak folk voted for. In fact this bigoted stupidity is exactly what we voted against. I don't mind a Malay from PAS becoming Perak MB, but not if the only reason is that he must be Malay!

I'll wait and see how this plays out. But I'd be very, very interested to hear the Opposition Coalition's reasoning why the MB must be a Malay. If I don't like what I hear, forgive me in advance if I use some fucking colourful language to describe some of the folks involved.

ORIGINAL POST: Hmmmm... the surprise is Perak where PAS has been given the Menteri Besar-ship. Personally I don't mind. Religious zealots though they are, (note that I used the term 'zealots' rather than 'bigots'... signifying zeal rather than bigotry), there is no denying that the PAS leadership has demonstrated hereunto, unparalled resistance to corruption and injustice.

I'm willing to give him a chance, and I hope all my fellow natives of Perak do the same. I think his performance might surprise all of us. Besides, DAP and PKR hold 25 seats in the state assembly compared to PAS' 6. He's not going to be passing Hudud laws through the halls of the state assembly or banning gambling and liquor anytime soon. This might turn out to be a masterful DAP move to change its reputation to the Malay masses as an uncompromising Chinese chauvinist party.

Here's the full story from Bernama below. Funny thing is that this story is not carried on Malaysiakini or NST, and though The Star has a report on Perak, it refuses to confirm the identity of the Perak MB.
Three Menteris Besar From PAS, One Each From DAP And PKR

KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 (Bernama) -- After leading the Kelantan state government for 18 years, PAS will have another two Menteris Besar from its ranks while DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) will have one each after the opposition's unpredecented sweep of five states in the general election.

The loose opposition front won Penang, Kedah, Perak and Selangor and retained Kelantan in the polls yesterday where the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) returned to power without its two-thirds majority.

Kedah PAS Commissioner, Azizan Abdul Razak,S 64, is expected to be sworn in as the state Menteri Besar today while the 77-year-old Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, PAS Spritual Leader, is almost certain to helm the Kelantan government.

PAS won an unexpected 16 seats in the polls, PKR four while DAP and an independent candidate one each. The ousted BN won 14.

In a surprise move, PAS, DAP and PKR took the first step towards forming a coalition government in Perak by nominating Perak PAS Liaison Secretary Ir Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin who won the Pasir Panjang state seat, as Menteri Besar.

This is despite the DAP holding the biggest share of seats won in the silver state. It won 18 state seats, against six for PAS and PKR'seven.

In Penang, Chief Minister designate, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng is going to achieve something his father Lim Kit Siang had only dreamt, fought and failed to accomplish with his few "Tanjong" projects to wrest the island state.

Guan Eng led the party to a stunning victory in the state, winning 19 state seats, which together with PKR's nine and PAS' one were more than enough to oust BN.

Former Permodalan Nasional Berhad's chief executive officer, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has emerged the front runner to be the new Menteri Besar of Selangor after the opposition party won 36 of the 56 seats at stake.

The PKR secretary-general won the Bandar Tun Razak parliamentary constituency and the Ijok state seat, which he had lost during a by-election last year.

PKR has called for a press conference later today to announce the formation of the state government and the new Menteri Besar to replace Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.



Anonymous said...

I fully agreed with you. Why DAP is not doing anything to that? I felt so betrayed after all the support i have gave and i am sure many of DAP supporters felt the same. Any where we can raise our concern?

Anonymous said...

hi sean..just to comment. I believe the reason why the MB 'must be Malay' is associated with the states' constitution (actually more for Muslim, rather than Malay)..which states an MB for states with Sultans should be Muslim. Reason? Because the MB will be the Sultan's rep in palace functions, traditional events, Islamic functions together with the State Mufti. Might be difficult if a non-Muslim is expected to carry out Islamic functions rite? That is the current constitution so currently there's no choice on this matter, unless they revamp the constituion on this later on.I wish they would have communicated this reason much clearly so that no one will be misinformed and may resort to 'colourful' words. Or else, maybe that's the purpose of the media, to not publish the real reason (surely the media should have known bout this reason etc; they are JOURNALISTS)so that early dissatisfaction appear from everywhere

Anonymous said...

for states with no Sultan, e.g. Malacca, Penang, Sabah, Sarawak etc., as far as I know no stipulation on the criteria, thus there's no issue on Malay/Muslim MB etc. in those states. And by the way, if i'm not mistaken,the constitution only state 'Muslim' for MB in states with Sultan, therefore any Muslim (regardless of race i.e. Indians, Chinese etc.) can be eligible.Of course, during BN's tenure that will be a no-no..but if in the next Election the Barisan Rakyat able to capture more majority and form the Federal government, I think this issue can be tackled and resolved.

P/S: Our Sultans embraces Islam and actually one of the enduring symbol for our nation,therefore hopefully no one would suggest the abolishment of the cultural practice/functions etc. Maybe middle ground can be achieved later on, by our wise leaders. However in this initial stages of victory, might be wise if we don't rock the boat too much, good things happen in steps

Frank said...

I would not fuss about the MB being a Malay or not.

Realpolitik dictates at least for Perak that the MB be a Malay Muslim. This is the first time DAP won Perak and it has NO Malay candidate.

It is also a lesson for DAP to encourage more Malays to join DAP.

DAP made the right decision on this issue.

It is important for non-BN parties to look forward into the future. The MB can be anybody but DAP holds the power with its majority candidates and that counts.

Malaysian politics is about give and take.

This is the first time it has power to form government. DAP of today is more matured than the DAP of 1969. We should give credit to this evolving maturity displayed.

Read here on this issue:

sean-the-man said...

I mistakenly deleted ranger's comment while trying to edit my own.

My sincere apologies, ranger.

sean-the-man said...

Firstly, I'm not against a PAS or PKR MB because he is Malay. Far from it.

I'm against the law (if that's the case) that says a non-Malay or non-Muslim cannot be MB.

You see, the demographics and sentiment may still be very communally driven and racially charged. As someone mentioned... the realpolitik. I think everyone accepts that.

But the laws must be neutral, irregardless of however low the possibility of taking advantage of that neutrality.

For instance, until Obama, there was very, very little possibility that a black man could ever be President. But the law never excluded that possibility.

The law itself must never be discriminatory, even if society is. That's what the phrase 'blind in the eyes of the law' means. If such laws are not repealed, then we are condoning institutional discrimination.

To legally deprive an entire section of citizens' right to hold an elected office because of their race... how is this different from Apartheid?

And to address anonymous' comment about the suggestion to abolish cultural practices and functions... NO, I'm not saying that. I'm saying that the 2 things, (A) being the aide to the sultan for religious and istiadat matters AND (B) being the head of the elected state govt - are 2 separate matters. Why can't we have 2 separate people performing those roles?

In summary, I believe that a Malay MB balances well a DAP dominated state assembly. But I cannot accept the manner in which the choice of MB is entirely taken out of DAP & the voters hands by an archaic and discrimatory law.

Additionally, there is a way around any restrictive stipulations in the state constitution with regards to the appointment of the MB:


Federal Constitution of Malaysia
Eight Schedule
Part 1
2(2) The Executive Council shall be appointed as follows, that is to say:

(a) the Ruler shall first appoint as Menteri Besar to preside over the Executive Council a member of the Legislative Assembly who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Assembly.

2(4) In appointing a Menteri Besar the Ruler may, in his discretion, dispense with any provision in the Constitution of this State restricting his choice of a Menteri Besar, if in his opinion it is necessary to do so in order to comply with the provisions of this section.

Anonymous said...

I think because there are still 25 UMNO ADUNs in the state assembly. So although the DAP/PKR/PAS is the ruling party, UMNO still have the largest voice in the assembly. Since DAP is a multi-ethnic party, this will be a moot point if only there is any Muslim candidate from DAP.

I actually think this is an excellent chance for DAP, as you mentioned, "to change its reputation to the Malay masses as an uncompromising Chinese chauvinist party". Hopefully, when the distrust between ethnics is gone, and the Parliament have at least 2/3 of forward & fair minded ppl, this law can be abolished.

be end said...

Do we want an MB of a certain race but not necessarily the best for everyone in that state (even for his/her own race) and then everyone suffers, or do u want an MB who's the best, regardless of race, so that everyone gains?

Frank said...


I agree with you on the law.

But we are now in a very fluid and transitional stage. We still do not know whether this NEW coalition is sustainable or tenable. The jury is still out on this.

But the law was established when the nation was born... something that recognised the official religion and the role of the Sultan with respect to Islam. We are dealing with State issues.

The changing of the law will only come when Malaysians of all races are more mature politically speaking.. not just you and me.

We are in changing times and any radical and quick change can have disastrous effects.

I believe this law was entrenched to protect the role of the monarchy viz a viz Islam, recognised as the official religion in the Federal Constitution.

For states like Perak I have no problems with a Malay MB, whether it is structured legally or not. Eventually future demographics either make this irrelevant or not.

Until such time that the monarchy's role on religion is part of the Federal Constitution, this will stay in States with Sultan as the constitutional head.

Everybody else has to live with it!

I believe DAP did the right thing without blinking an eye on this and we should support such move.

We have to let future generations and when the political landscape changes further to revisit this issue.

As of now, let us not spoil the happy ending to this election thus far.

Anonymous said...

Hi sean,
it took obama 200 years to get close to the white house, so for us to start calling for a dap mb is a bit premature. the majority of the constituents are malay. so, it makes common sense to have a malay as mb. it actually does not matter which party the guy is from, as long he can get the job done.

now, the alternative coalition is at a very critical stage where it has to demonstrate that it can be magnimonius in this decision. the malays have already taken the 1st step towards a future where race bears little or no bearing in our existence as malaysians.

so, let's not get overly excited if dap does not get the mb's job or sufficient control in the state. after all, dap is only 18/59. the ball is already rolling and the last thing the alternative coalition needs is internal bickering. they need to proof that they are less into racial policies and truefully working towards a united and fair malaysia.

keep blogging.
best wishes,3rd-eye.

sean-the-man said...

The demographic or population majority argument is not terribly convincing. According to the 2000 census, Malays were 54% of the population, Chinese 31%, Indians 13% and dll 2%. It is a majority yes, but certainly not an overwhelming one.

Having said that, I agree that the situation might be untenable if DAP insists on a Chinese or possibly Indian MB, mainly because Malay folks have a direct majority in the Perak state assembly (27 UMNO + 6 PAS + ?? PKR).

So, I do buy a 'lightly softly' strategy for the Opposition coalition in such early days.

On a side note, if the gerrymandering in the electoral boundaries was corrected, won't the Chinese areas automatically have more representation? This reduces the high ground of the 'majority of Malay MPs' argument.

But at the end of the day, I reiterate that I'm not against a Malay MB but against how he comes about. In this day and age, I'm more than a little surprised there is so little outrage regarding a law that is nothing less than outright racism.

As for the 'understanding the tradition and emotional sensitivities' argument'... I do apologise if I don't appear more sympathetic to sentimental arguments. I'm been proven repeatedly to be Driver-Analytical in nature and as such, I have a pretty uncompromising black & white outlook on what's right and wrong.

The attached emotional sensitivity and historical baggage doesn't make the law more right or less wrong. They just make the wrong (the law) harder to right. But let there be no doubt whatsoever that it is indeed wrong.

And 3rd-eye, the blacks might have taken 200 years. But the non-Malays are not slaves, no? And note that there is only 50 years between the Civil Rights movement in the 60s when blacks were not allowed on white buses, and Barack Obama today. So, 50 years not enough?