By Ismail Amsyar Mohd Said
KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 (Bernama) -- The Barisan Nasional secured a two-thirds majority in Perlis when it won 10 of the 15 seats in the state legislative assembly in the general election on May 9.
However, when Bintong assemblyman Datuk Seri Azlan Man, 60, took his oath of office as the menteri besar for the second term today, he found himself all alone.
None of the other nine BN assemblymen attended the swearing-in before the Raja of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail, at Istana Arau in Perlis.
In fact, they were all in the federal capital with Perlis BN chairman and Perlis UMNO Liaison Committee chairman Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim seeking Azlan's immediate expulsion from UMNO.
In Arau, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin expressed sadness and disappointment over what he referred to as their disrespect for staying away from the swearing-in ceremony for which they had been invited.
Shahidan claimed at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur that Azlan did not command the majority support among the BN assemblymen.
Azlan's was one of the two names presented to the Raja of Perlis. The other is that of Tambun Tulang assemblyman Datuk Ismail Kassim, younger brother of Shahidan.
In an unprecedented impromptu address at the swearing-in ceremony, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin said appointing Ismail would result in him (Ismail) becoming a puppet controlled by 'external forces'.
Constitutional expert Assoc Prof Dr Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz, when contacted by Bernama, said Azlan's appointment was legally valid because the Raja of Perlis had given his consent to the appointment and Azlan had been sworn in.
"The appointment (of the mentri besar) is the right of the Raja and the Ruler had decided to consent to Azlan's appointment. If there is any objection, it must be proven that Azlan does not have the support through a no-confidence vote," she said.
Dr Shamrahayu said the long time it took for BN to determine who would be the menteri besar showed that it was unable to arrive at a decision.
This prompted the Ruler to appoint an individual whom he felt was the most eligible to administer the state, as provided for under Article 39(2) of the Perlis Constitution, she said.
Dr Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmod, professor law at the International Islamic University of Malaysia, said the current situation showed that Azlan had lost the support of the majority and this had to be proven.
The objection could be proven through a vote of no-confidence in the legislative assembly or outside the house, he said.
"The best way will be for those who do not support Azlan to seek an audience with the Ruler and state their objection to his appointment as the menteri besar. The Ruler will then instruct the menteri besar to step down."
"At the same time, the menteri besar can also advise the Ruler to dissolve the state legislative assembly. It will be left to the Ruler to accept or reject such advice," he said.
Nik Ahmad Kamal said that in the event the number of assemblymen at the audience with the Ruler did not constitute a simple majority (of the assembly), the appointed menteri besar would carry on with his duties.