Perak (Malay pronunciation: [peraʔ]; Jawi: ڤيراق; Chinese: 霹雳 Tamil: பேராக்), also known by its honorific Darul Ridzuan or “Abode of Grace” (Arabic: دار الرضوان, Dār al-Riḍwān), is one of the thirteen states of Malaysia, and the fourth-largest one. It borders Kedah at the north; Thai Yala Province to the northeast; Penang to the northwest; Kelantan and Pahang to the east; Selangor to the south, and the Straits of Malacca to the west.
The state’s administrative capital of Ipoh was known historically for tin-mining activities until the price of the metal dropped, severely affecting the state’s economy. The royal capital, however, remains at Kuala Kangsar, where the palace of the Sultan of Perak is located.
The state’s official name is Perak Darul Ridzuan. Perak means silver in Malay, which is probably derived from the silvery colour of tin. In the 1890s, Perak, with the richest alluvial deposits of tin in the world was one of the jewels in the crown of the British Empire. However, some say the name comes from the “glimmer of fish in the water” that sparkled like silver. Darul Ridzuan is the state’s Arabic honorific (Arabic: دار الرضوان, Dār al-Riḍwān), and can mean either “land” or “abode” of grace.
The modern history of Perak began with the fall of the Malacca Sultanate. Raja Muzaffar Shah (the eldest son of the last Sultan of Melaka, Sultan Mahmud Shah), fled the Portuguese conquest of 1511 and established his own dynasty on the banks of the Sungai Perak (Perak River) in 1528. Being rich in tin ore deposits, the dominion was under almost continuous threat from outsiders.
The Perak State Legislative Assembly (Malay: Dewan Undangan Negeri Perak) is the unicameral state legislature of the state of Perak. It is composed of 59 members representing single-member districts throughout the state. Elections are held no more than five years apart.
The current Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) is Ahmad Faizal Azumu who is representative of the Pakatan Harapan, the governing political party that commands the support of majority of members of the State Legislative Assembly.
Following the opposition coalition winning Perak in the 2008 general election, Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin of Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) was appointed as the new Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) of the state eventually, although the Democratic Action Party (DAP) won the most seats compared to other opposition parties. The Menteri Besar did not come from the Chinese-dominant party as the state constitution states that the Chief Minister must be a Muslim, unless the Sultan specially appoints a non-Muslim Chief Minister. As DAP does not have any Muslim assemblymen, if the Sultan insists that the Chief Minister must be a Muslim, then the assemblymen would have to come from either Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) or PAS, which formed the coalition state government with DAP. On 3 February 2009, Barisan Nasional, the national ruling party, gained control over the state government, after the defections of three Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen. However, several cases have been filed in the Kuala Lumpur High Court challenging the validity of the new Barisan Nasional government, causing a constitutional crisis. Adding to this crisis is the fact that the Pakatan Rakyat Menteri Besar has refused to resign and states that he is still the legal Menteri Besar until he is removed through vote of no confidence or snap election.