V. Sivakumar

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V. Sivakumar
வ. சிவகுமார்
Faction represented in Dewan Rakyat
2013–2018Democratic Action Party
2018–Pakatan Harapan
Faction represented in Perak State Legislative Assembly
2008–2013Democratic Action Party
Other roles
2008–2009Speaker of Perak State Assembly
Personal details
Sivakumar s/o Varatharaju Naidu

(1970-12-05) 5 December 1970 (age 51)
Perak, Malaysia
Political partyDemocratic Action Party (Malaysia) (DAP)
Other political
Pakatan Harapan (PH)
Pakatan Rakyat (PR)
  • N. Varatharaju (father)
  • S. Karunakari (mother)
ProfessionLegal Philosopher

Sivakumar s/o Varatharaju Naidu (Tamil: வ. சிவகுமார், romanized: Va. Civakumār; born 5 December 1970), better known as V. Sivakumar, is a Malaysian politician from Perak. He is the incumbent Member of Parliament for Batu Gajah constituency in Perak since 2013 representing Democratic Action Party (DAP), a component of Pakatan Harapan (PH).

He is also the former Speaker of the Perak State Legislative Assembly from 2008 to 2009. He is the first ethnic Indian to become the speaker of a Malaysian legislative body, succeeding Junus Wahid, the previous speaker of the State Assembly from UMNOBarisan Nasional.

Sivakumar's tenure as speaker was shrouded in controversy surrounding his handling of the 2009 Perak constitutional crisis, where the opposition Barisan Nasional managed to obtain three defections from the elected government, enabling Barisan Nasional under Zambry Abdul Kadir to form the new government. Sivakumar had the members of the disputed new Barisan Nasional cabinet suspended for contempt of assembly.[1] Many blogs, particularly Malaysia Today run by the influential royal Raja Petra Kamaruddin, and news portals in cyberspace praised him for his resilience in insisting for an official vote of no-confidence against the incumbent Pakatan Rakyat government of Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin before taking charge. The mainstream media of Malaysia criticised him for being partisan and biased against Barisan Nasional.[2]

Early life and entry into politics[edit]

Sivakumar was born in 1970 to M. Varatharaju and S. Karunakari.

Sivakumar entered politics in 1997, once serving as political secretary to Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran, before winning the Tronoh state seat in the 2008 general election, defeating Lee Kim Choy with a majority of 2,571.[3] Sivakumar holds a Bachelor's in Legal Philosophy and a Master's in Business Administration.[4] Sivakumar was nominated speaker by Pakatan Rakyat and while Barisan Nasional nominated Junus Wahid, the incumbent, to continue as speaker. A fired up debate ensued between the two sides, and Sivakumar was elected speaker through secret ballot on[5] 25 April 2008 at 4.05pm with 31 votes, against Junus' 28 votes.[6] Hee Yit Foong was appointed deputy speaker soon after.

In the 2013 general election, Sivakumar contested and won the parliamentary constituency of Batu Gajah in Perak.

Perak constitutional crisis[edit]

On 27 February 2009, Sivakumar called for an emergency sitting of the Assembly to be held on 3 March 2009 to vote on two motions, the first motion being the affirmation of Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin's government as the legitimate one and the second motion being the approval to dissolve the assembly to pave way for fresh polls in the state.[7][8] Defying Sivakumar's directive, the Perak legal advisor, Ahmad Kamal Mohd Shahid prevented the notification of the emergency sitting from being released because the meeting did not obtain the consent of the Monarch.[9] Sivakumar's lawyer Augustine Anthony countered the legal advisor citing that as an adjourned sitting, the session is not dissolved or prorogued and therefore does not require the consent of the Sultan.[10]

Sivakumar cited the legislature's Standing Orders 89 as giving him final say in any interpretation of the state assembly's Standing Orders.[11] On 2 March 2009 the Perak state secretary's office issued a directive to lock the gates to the state assembly building ahead of the emergency sitting of the state assembly. The same day Sivakumar announced that he was suspending the assembly's secretary Abdullah Antong Sabri with immediate effect and that the emergency meeting of the assembly scheduled for 3 March would go ahead as planned. The suspension action was taken because of Abdullah's "failure to carry out his duties professionally", said Sivakumar.[12]

3 March emergency sitting[edit]

On 3 March 2009, amidst a strong police presence,[13] Sivakumar attempted to convene the emergency session of the assembly, but Pakatan Rakyat assemblypersons were barred from entering the State Secretariat. Sivakumar, wearing his full speaker robes and a songkok declared a tree in the parking lot of the State Secretariat as the meeting place. The session was witnessed by curious onlookers[14] defying police warnings to stay away[15] a motion of confidence in Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin's government, a motion to affirm the suspension of Zambry Abdul Kadir's Barisan Nasional state exco and a motion to dissolve the assembly for snap polls were passed unanimously, 27–0.[16]

Barisan Nasional protested the legitimacy of the emergency session and none of their assembly members attended. Nizar despatched a letter to Sultan Azlan Shah to request an audience to discuss the dissolution of the assembly.

The tree used for shade during the session was then dubbed the "Tree of Democracy" by Pakatan Rakyat[17] and a memorial plaque was unveiled on 8 March 2009, the first anniversary of the election which swept Pakatan Rakyat to power in Perak. A webpage commemorating the tree was also created.[18]

Election results[edit]

Perak State Legislative Assembly[19][20]
Year Constituency Government Votes Pct Opposition Votes Pct Ballots cast Majority Turnout
2008 N33 Tronoh, P66 Batu Gajah. V. Sivakumar (DAP) 9,302 56.56% Lee Kim Choy (MCA) 6,731 40.93% 16,446 2,571 68.23%
Parliament of Malaysia[19][20][21]
Year Constituency Opposition Votes Pct Government Votes Pct Ballots cast Majority Turnout
2013 P66 Batu Gajah, Perak. V. Sivakumar (DAP) 53,770 76.52% Loo Thin Tuck (MCA) 15,360 21.86% 70,270 38,410 80.20%
2018 V. Sivakumar (DAP) 52,850 84.17% Leong Chee Wai (MCA) 8,982 14.31% 62,787 43,868 77.13%
Kunasekaran Krishnan (PSM) 955 1.52%


  1. ^ "V. Sivakumar, Speaker of Perak state legislative assembly suspend six state executive council members". Sampuran Singh. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
  2. ^ "A dark cloud over Thursday's assembly sitting". The New Strait Times. 4 April 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2009.[dead link]
  3. ^ "Perak State Election Results 2008 (Tronoh)". Undi.Info (Malaysiakini). 8 March 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
  4. ^ "DAP rep sworn in as Perak Speaker". The Malaysian Insider. 26 April 2008. Archived from the original on 13 May 2009. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  5. ^ "History in Perak, after rows". Archived from the original on 4 June 2011.
  6. ^ "History in Perak, after rows". The Star. 26 August 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
  7. ^ "Perak Speaker calls emergency session next Tuesday". The Malaysian Insider. 27 February 2009. Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  8. ^ "Perak Speaker calls for emergency sitting on March 3". The Star Malaysia. 27 February 2009. Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  9. ^ "Perak Emergency Assembly Meeting Illegal". Siam Daily News. 1 March 2008. Archived from the original on 23 January 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
  10. ^ "Perak state legal advisor blocks notification of emergency sitting". The Malaysian Insider. 27 February 2009. Archived from the original on 2 March 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  11. ^ "Speaker says Standing Orders give him final say on interpretation". The Malaysian Insider. 1 March 2009. Archived from the original on 2 March 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
  12. ^ "Perak Speaker suspends state assembly secretary". The Malaysian Insider. 2 March 2009. Retrieved 2 March 2009.[dead link]
  13. ^ "BN's disrespect for democracy". The Nut Graph. 13 March 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
  14. ^ "Malaysian democracy under a tree". Asia Times Online. 6 March 2009. Archived from the original on 10 March 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2009.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  15. ^ "Stay away from building, says CPO". The Star. 3 March 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
  16. ^ "Perak's Assembly calls for dissolution, polls (updated)". The Star. 3 March 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
  17. ^ "Pakatan's Tree of Democracy". The Star. 9 March 2009. Archived from the original on 10 March 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 April 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ a b "Keputusan Pilihan Raya Umum Parlimen/Dewan Undangan Negeri" (in Malay). Election Commission of Malaysia. Retrieved 4 February 2017. Percentage figures based on total turnout.
  20. ^ a b "Malaysia General Election". undiinfo Malaysian Election Data. Malaysiakini. Retrieved 4 February 2017. Results only available from the 2004 election.
  21. ^ "KEPUTUSAN PILIHAN RAYA UMUM 13". Sistem Pengurusan Maklumat Pilihan Raya Umum (in Malay). Election Commission of Malaysia. Retrieved 24 March 2017.