A Time Of Reckoning

Always remember the day (7th of May 2009) and remember the location (Perak) where it took place. A day of infamy when the government created public disorder by rioting against the legally elected Opposition State Government and assumed illegal control of the legislature by force of arms. 

By Hakim Joe

Always remember the name of the State Legislative Speaker and remember the reprehensible manner in which the legally elected Speaker of the House was physically attacked and dragged from the State Legislative Assembly by agents of the national enforcement agency in collusion with the federal government, and in direct violation of the Malaysian Constitution, which happens to be the highest Law of the Nation. 

Never forget the notorious person who had caused it all by crossing over to the enemy because she deemed it intolerable that she was (perceived to be) treated in a manner unbecoming of her lofty status as the first female deputy Speaker, never mind the allegations of corruption connecting the real reasons for her crossing over. 

Never forget those words by the Raja Muda whereby he professed seeking a stance of non-involvement in the State where his father is the hereditary Sultan and where he has just been named the Bakal Sultan. 

And then there are the actions of the Judiciary, the Elections Commission and the various national enforcement agencies. Where are the four pillars of democracy? Where is the separation of powers? Where are our Constitutional Rights? 

There comes a time of reckoning not that far in the future where these reckless words and irresponsible actions will be collectively judged by the People and found wanting. Regardless of what the exact circumstances that led to this Constitutional Crisis, quick remedial actions in the form of fresh elections could have effectively been undertaken to rectify this impasse once and for all.  

But no, this state of affairs has been permitted to fester and the situation aggravated until the real opportunity to resolve this predicament becomes untenable. Additionally, this is culminated through warped politics, questionable decisions from the bench and strong-arm tactics that legalised a political party that lost in the recent state elections to assume the state government.  

The enabling power of such conduct and behaviour by the royalty and the federal government underlines the crucial demand for reforms in a tarnished “constitutional monarchy” government and the assumed democratic system where the peoples’ wishes are duly disregarded and illegally justified through legislations that pretermit human rights and civil liberties. 

A “call to arms” and the “storming of the Bastille” are but prefabricated metaphors rationalised by RPK to emphasise the urgent requirement to introduce changes into a democratic system that has veered from the honourable intentions of its forefathers. 

Furthermore, the constitutional rights of the people to be at hand when the State Assembly is convened cannot be legally and morally denied by the mere issuance of a court order prohibiting the gathering of the public within the premise of the State Legislature. It is also unjustifiable, the arrests of legally invited people to this Assembly, or of innocent bystanders who happen to be sitting down enjoying their morning coffee in a coffee shop, or of people who happen to wear the colour black, or of those holding pictures of the King. 

When did the State make it illegal to drink kopi-O, or teh-tarik, or cham-ping? When did the State make it illegal to wear black? When did the State make it illegal to hold a portrait of the Agong? What’s next? Legal to smoke but illegal to breathe? 

The release of the ISA detainees is but a hollow act in the desperate attempts by the federal government to placate growing public discontentment. The release order stated a “suspension of the detention orders by the Home Minister” whereby this suspension can be arbitrarily cancelled at a later time and the detainees hauled back to Kamunting for “re-education” without ever the necessity of due legal process. 

The Perak Fiasco can be seen as “growing pains” for a nation that is just becoming aware of what human rights and civil liberties are. No longer can the federal government stop the passage of time as the public become more informative and less ignorant. Indoctrination only works for those hardcore who refuses to see the light. For those involved in the feeble attempts to hold on to illegal power by means of force, just remember this. There comes… “A Time of Reckoning”.