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NEWS UPDATES 23 May 2009

Malaysian govt given control of disputed state

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Malaysia's government won control of the disputed northwestern state of Perak after an appeal court ruling on Friday overturned an earlier decision that had handed control to the opposition, Reuters reported.

The fight in peninsular Malaysia's second-largest state began when the ruling National Front government took control of the state government in February through defections orchestrated by Najib Razak before he became premier in April.

The tussle for control of Perak has caused anti-government protests, with 90 people arrested earlier this month as they protested against the ousting of the state administration by the national government.

The state has passed from opposition control to the government twice. The opposition was reinstated by a High Court ruling last week but then National Front Chief Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir won a stay order on that decision, allowing him to remain in power pending Friday's decision.

It is clear the respondent (the state opposition leader) had ceased to command confidence of the Perak state assembly. The Sultan was right to appoint Zambry, judge Raus Shariff said.

State opposition leader Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin said he would appeal the decision.

Perak was one of five states won by the opposition in the 2008 general election when the coalition that has run Malaysia for 51 years slumped to its worst ever election losses.

Najib has said he is willing to hold talks on who controls Perak, but he and the National Front have not said they were willing to hold new elections, seen by the opposition and many political analysts as the only way out of the impasse.

Perak is providing the opposition with a rallying point and also distracting Najib as he seeks to rebuild confidence in the ruling coalition. He is also trying to kickstart what he has said will be radical reforms to boost Malaysia's ailing economy.








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