Lawlessness and the Perak assembly

By P. Ramakrishnan, President of Aliran

MAY 7 — Chaos has descended upon Ipoh and the rule of law has been savaged by the brutish behaviour of Perak Umno state assemblymen. What we witnessed today will condemn us forever for reducing a much-respected institution into the law of the jungle. Decorum was not observed and the rule of law was totally discarded.

By refusing to be bound by the rules of the assembly, the Umno assemblymen and sergeant-at-arms have demeaned democracy and the democratic process. The same conduct that arrogantly discarded the mandate of the Perakians in the power grab engineered by Datuk Seri Najib Razak is at play once again in the state assembly, ignoring the sanctity of the assembly and displaying the very arrogance that has no place in this sacred institution.

There was no need to have pushed for this sitting of the assembly when the status and legitimacy of Datuk Zambry Abd Kadir as Perak mentri besar is still in question. This very crucial issue had not been legally settled and yet the Umno assemblymen could not wait for the resolution of the issue. They are bent on taking over the state assembly by any means — mostly by foul means.

The sergeant-at-arms has no authority to disobey the orders of the Speaker. It is not their business to take sides nor to decide whether the instruction given is right or other wise. They don’t seem to know their place or understand their role.

The police have acted in a diabolical manner and did not act professionally and in an impartial manner as they are required to do so. They are seen to be acting pro-Barisan Nasional and in a high-handed fashion in arresting so many people who had not posed any serious threat to the security of the nation.

There was no entry into the 500-metre zone to keep people away from the vicinity of the assembly. They have made it clear that anyone breaching this court order will be arrested. That being the case how did Datuk R. Ganesan gain access into the assembly to be illegally “elected” Speaker of the assembly? Ganesan was even prepared to use force to grab the Speaker’s chair, proving that he is prone to violence. This is clearly conduct unbecoming of someone aspiring to be the Speaker of the assembly.

On what basis did the sergeant-at-arms and the police forcefully and physically act to evict the lawful Speaker of the assembly in this outrageous manner? Isn’t the assembly out of bounds for the police to walk in and act in this atrocious way?

It appears that the police are also in league with the Umno assemblymen to do their bidding in helping the Umno assemblymen to take control of the assembly.

It is not even clear that the Perak state assembly had been convened legally and legitimately for the Umno motions to be tabled and adopted. In a rough shod manner they had bulldozed their way to secure their position with scant respect for formal procedure and protocol.

Law and order has completely broken down in the Perak state assembly and in this state of lawlessness Umno has taken charge of the Perak state assembly. This is no honourable takeover of the august body. It is a shameful way of acquiring power through brute force.

Najib must be held responsible for this pandemonium. He had created this situation in bringing about the change of government that has resulted in the bedlam that we witnessed in the state assembly.

If only the earnest appeals and prayers for the dissolution of the state assembly had been heeded we would have had a people’s government to govern Perak.

This injustice will be rectified at the 13th general election when the rallying cry will be “Remember Perak — Remember the injustice.”