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Mar 15, 2008

10 assemblymen back Perlis Ruler's appointment of new MB

By: Ahmad Fairuz Othman

Kangar, Sat: At least 10 of the 15 Perlis assemblymen have rallied behind the Raja of Perlis in his appointment of Datuk Md Isa Sabu as Menteri Besar. Even the sole Pas assemblyman Rus'sele Eizan has thrown support for the Raja of Perlis' decision. This means that there are now two groups of Perlis assemblymen - the majority who support the Ruler's decision and Md Isa; and the minority group who support Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim as Mentri Besar.

Pauh assemblyman Datuk Seri Syed Radzlan Putra Jamalullail said eight assemblymen were supportive of Md Isa as Menteri Besar. "We had met with the Prime Minister before meeting the Raja of Perlis in Kuala Lumpur yesterday to convey our intent." Those still backing Shahidan were Abdullah Hassan (Sanglang), Khairi Hassan (Mata Ayer), Mansor Jusoh (Chuping) and Jafperi Othman (Guar Sanji).

Syed Radzlan, who supports the monarch's decision, said the appointment was done according to the state's constitution. "We have the state constitution. It's either we respect it or we don't use it at all,” he said. "To say that Tuanku appointed his own man is wrong. There were nine of us (assemblymen) who agreed to have Md Isa Sabu (as Mentri Besar).”

According to the palace, Dr Isa’s appointment was made under Article 39 (2) of the Laws of the Constitution of Perlis. Under this provision, the ruler shall appoint a person who he thinks has the confidence of the majority of the members of the state assembly to become the Menteri besar to head the state government.

“Based on this provision and after being satisfied with his ability to garner the support of the majority of the state assemblymen, His Royal Highness has consented to appoint Datuk Dr Md Isa Sabu as the Menteri Besar of Perlis effective March 14 2008,” confidential secretary to the Raja Perlis, Mohd Adib Zakaria had said.

Dr Md Isa was a Perlis state executive councillor until 2004 when he was not re-nominated to contest in the general election that year. He was nominated to contest in Bintong in the general election last Saturday and won the seat by defeating PAS’ Mohd Anuar Mohd Tahir with a majority of 2,110 votes. He polled 4,882 votes against Mohd Anuar’s 2,772.

The Ruler's move totally floored Shahidan, more so after the effort he made to secure the MB's appointment from Abdullah.

While he was resigned to the fact that he had to accept the Raja Perlis' ruling, he made an open rebuke to Dr Md Isa, whom he warned that by accepting the MB's post, the latter went against the Umno president and the party's wishes. He also blamed bitter rivals Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad and Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid for engineering the coup.

In the state capital on Friday night, 100 supporters signed a letter to support Shahidan at his official residence in Jalan Kolam. Things have quietened down today and there appeared to be no more gatherings at the MB's residence.

Police have also deployed patrols at Md Isa's house in Taman Guru Jaya, the MB's residence, the palace of Raja of Perlis (Istana Fauzana in Jalan Padang Katong) and Raja Muda's palace in Istana Arau.

Syed Radzlan said the nine assemblymen, including himself, had met with the prime minister and Raja of Perlis on Friday, and agreed to appoint Md Isa as their Mentri Besar. "Md Isa has the experience, and he is a matured politician," he said.

Mata Ayer assemblyman Khairi is hoping for an end to the confusion. Despite being on Shahidan's team, Khairi said: "We are waiting for a decision from the prime Minister, positive or negative. I hope the problem will be settled soon. I was agreeable with the 'other' group but when the PM issued the appointment letter, and I saw the letter with my own eyes, I had to abide by the BN."

Meanwhile, state Pas commissioner Hashim Jasin said that Rus'sele and him had submitted a letter and spoken to a palace representative to pledge their support for the ruler's decision.

"Despite being an opposition party, we stand firmly behind the decision of the Raja of Perlis. If he picks Md Isa, then we support his decision as it was in accordance with the state constitution. I feel that Perlis needs a change of leadership. And this is the right time to change," said Hashim, who was the former Sanglang assemblyman. - NST


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