It is believed that Ahmad Faizal Azumu is the first menteri besar to lose a vote of confidence.
Faizal lost a motion of confidence vote that was tabled against him at the state legislative assembly this morning.
Perak Speaker Datuk Mohammad Zahir Abdul Kalid announced the results showing that 48 assemblymen had voted against Faizal, while only 10 supported him.
“A total of 59 voting ballots were received on the motion. Ten votes were in support of the menteri besar and 48 were against him, while another vote was damaged,” he said.
With that, the House concluded that Faizal no longer commanded enough support to continue as menteri besar which he acknowledged.
Following the result of the vote, Zahir adjourned the state assembly until December 9.
“I believe we need some time as I also must inform the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, of this matter.
“I believe the menteri besar will also seek an audience with Sultan to inform him of the same matter. Therefore, I adjourn this session until 2pm next Wednesday,” he said.
Before the session ended, Faizal stood up to express his gratitude to the House.
“I accept this with an open heart, and I think during these difficult times, a political issue should not be prolonged.
“I would like to say thank you to the people and the state assembly. Thank you, my friends in Pakatan Harapan. I miss you guys. I would also like to thank the state executive councillors,” he said, expressing hope that the newly-formed government in the future would prioritise the people.
He also hoped initiatives taken for the sake of the people would be continued.
The PPBM leader, who has been the menteri besar since May 2018, promised that the “transition to a new government” would be smooth “for the sake of the rakyat”.
Perak assembly fast-tracked confidence vote
This morning, Salbiah Mohamed (BN-Temenggor) and Howard Lee (Harapan-Pasir Pinji) had filed emergency motions to bring forward the motion of confidence on Faizal, prompting the speaker to seek the House’s permission to do so.
Following this, 45 out of 59 assemblypersons agreed while nine disagreed.
The motion to express confidence in Faizal’s leadership was moved by Abdul Manaf Hashim (BN-Pengkalan Bharu). It was initially placed last on the Order Paper and was to be debated after the state’s budget for 2021 was passed.
Once his motion was fast-tracked, Manaf was asked to address the House where he explained that there was a need to determine the legitimacy of Faizal’s support to hold the position of menteri besar.
He said although Faizal was legally the menteri besar, there are still accusations that the Perak government was a “backdoor government”.
Since it was impossible to hold a state election now to dispel such a perception, Manaf argued that the best way to determine Faizal’s legitimacy was through the legislative assembly.
No Umno-DAP plot
Manaf also stressed that his party (Umno) and DAP were not in cahoots in bringing down Faizal.
However, he said that DAP, the largest party in the previous PH government, had issues with Faizal and once sent emissaries to Umno to discuss the possibility of ousting him.
As for Umno, he said the party also had issues with Faizal, citing how Perak Umno was once compelled to publicly state that they were not consulted over the appointment of the menteri besar’s political secretary.
“We can see that both the biggest parties in the previous Harapan government and now the PN-BN government has problems with (Faizal).
“Therefore, the best place to address this is in this House. Therefore, there is no reason to say Umno is in cahoots with DAP,” he said.
PAS man backs Faizal
Razman Zakaria (PAS-Gunung Semanggol) supported Abdul Manaf’s motion, but for different reasons.
He argued that Faizal had left PH for the right reasons and that the menteri besar was focussing on education and academic standards.
An attempt to remove Faizal during a pandemic would be “treacherous”, said Razman.
“Society (will judge us) if a motion to oust (Faizal) or change the government at a time when the country is facing a pandemic as treachery towards country, race and religion.
“I support this motion and I urge all assemblypersons to support it,” said Razman.
The opposition passed on the opportunity to debate the motion.
Abdul Manaf, in his winding-up speech, said Umno was not power-crazy and that his motion was in Perak’s best interest.
It was reported in October that the Perak government was at risk of collapsing as a result of discontent among state Umno leaders regarding their coalition partner PPBM.
An Umno leader was quoted saying that “all was not well” between the two Malay parties in the state as ties between Umno and PPBM had been strained over a number of issues.
Perak Umno leaders were said to be “annoyed” with Faizal’s running of the state and PPBM’s attempt to dominate politics despite Umno holding the most number of seats in the state assembly.
“So, while we will not work with PH, if there is a motion of no confidence against Peja (Faizal) in the state assembly, he may not get the support of all Umno assemblymen,” a source had said.
Faisal was appointed as Perak MB after PH won the state in 2018. Although PPBM had the fewest assemblymen, PH decided to appoint him due to the power sharing agreement it had with PPBM.
Following the collapse of PH at the federal level in February, Faisal resigned as the PH MB to form a new state government with BN and PAS.
Despite PPBM having just five assemblymen to Umno’s 25 and PAS’ three, Faizal was reappointed in March after PN took over the state.
The PN government is currently supported by eight PN assemblymen and 25 from BN, and also has support from one Gerakan assemblyman and one independent in the 59-seat state assembly.
The opposition in Perak is made up of 24 assemblymen in PH – DAP (16), Amanah (five) and PKR (three).
Meanwhile, the Opposition bloc has asked Faizal to resign as the menteri besar since he has lost the motion of confidence in the Perak state assembly.
“This is part of the democratic system, where the rule of law was followed accordingly.” said Perak DAP chairman Nga Kor Ming.
“I hope all parties will remain calm, as the assembly’s speaker has stated that he would be meeting with the Sultan of Perak to brief on the latest happenings,” he told a press conference at the state DAP headquarters in Ipoh.
Nga added that what had taken place was a historic day for Perak, and he added that he is confident that the new state government would be formed according to the rule of law as well.
Nga said that the 24 assemblymen from the Opposition were all against Faizal leading the state.
Meanwhile, Perak PKR vice-chairman Tan Kar Hing said Faizal must make way for a new state government and menteri besar.
“From our side, 24 votes did not support Faizal, and the remaining votes are from the current state government. So, this shows the state Perikatan Nasional is fragile, and there are internal squabbles among them,” he said.
State Opposition Leader Abdul Aziz Bari said Faizal’s failure to survive the confidence vote also meant all his state executive councillors must depart with him.
“Even though the administration has fallen, it still can function as the caretaker government and I believe the Perak Sultan will take this matter into consideration.
“And we believe there will be some discussion in the next few days, and in the meantime, I hope the people will stay calm and be patient,” he said.
Aziz Bari, who is the state DAP’s vice-chairman, did not rule out the possibility of negotiations with Perak BN in the next few days.
“However, it all depends on the Perak Sultan. He needs to form a stable government, and this is something the politicians have to be magnanimous about and set aside personal or party interests.
“But we know it’s not easy to achieve. So that’s why we have to wait and see,” he added.
In a later development, Faizal said he believes there will not be a transition in government, but rather a change of menteri besar only.
Faizal, who is also the state PPBM chairman, said that the party will remain with the Perak PN coalition despite half of the no-confidence votes coming from the PN bloc.
“The PN government is a good government and accepted by the people. Thus, I believe the momentum should continue and be maintained,” he told reporters when met at the State Secretariat Building.
“Even until this morning, all our government administrative affairs were going well. It’s not that they think my leadership is bad, but maybe some among us might believe that they are more qualified to sit in the menteri besar’s chair and I accept the decision wholeheartedly,” he added.
A composed Faizal said forming a new state government was not a good idea.
“I think we should just focus on stability. I think that supporting others to establish a new government will not result in political stability,” he said.
When asked if he thought about switching allegiance, Faizal replied: “No, lah, I think I should just accept this.”
Faizal is the fourth chief executive of a state or territory in the country to be ousted through a confidence vote.
He said he was heartened by the fact that 10 assemblypersons supported him.
“They had confidence in me. There are more, but they have to toe the party line… They told me that they were not happy with what happened but that is the past.
“Let’s not get into that,” he said.
He added that he will seek an audience with Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah over the state’s political situation as soon as possible.
“The Sultan needs to make a decision to choose one of us whom he trusts and receive a majority (votes from the assemblymen) to form a state government. It needs to be done immediately to get our 2021 state budget approved.
“When I seek an audience with the Sultan, I can advise him to dissolve the government, but the situation is still not conducive for a state election. So, what should I do? I should be a nice person, be quiet and give my support to whoever the Sultan picks.
Asked whether he had predicted such a motion to be brought up, Faizal said such move to oust him as menteri besar has been in the works since the first day he entered the state’s top appointed office.
“I may look calm right now but deep inside, I feel uneasy because I am worried about the state’s budget which is supposed to be tabled this afternoon.
“In the event there is a motion of confidence in me, it should have been done after I tabled the budget. But it did not happen. I think we should not talk about power transition but help the people,” he said.
Asked whether Perak PPBM would remain in the state PN, Faizal urged state PPBM members to accept his outcome with an open heart.