Famous last words — The Malaysian Insider

"I don't want to get involved in this. I just want to give my speech, so respect my speech, when I am giving it. You understand that? If you want to work with me in future, you have to respect my speech. Understand?” 

The Malaysian Insider

What a week it was. A fracas in the Perak state assembly for the first time in history. A show of force by police personnel inside the legislature for the first time in history. And complete disbelief across Malaysia of how badly the Perak crisis has been handled. The Malaysian Insider sieves through the rhetoric and picks out a few gems.

• “Changing party is a normal thing in a parliamentary democracy. Winston Churchill changed parties twice. In the United States, a Republican Senator recently crossed over to become a Democrat Senator. It is not unconstitutional to do so and it is also not illegal.” — Datuk Seri Najib Razak

Err, sorry Mr Prime Minister, you are comparing apples and oranges here. It is an insult to speak of Winston Churchill and Arlen Specter in the same breath as Hee Yit Foong, Osman Jailu and Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi.

Churchill was arguably the greatest war-time prime minister. In 1904 he joined the Liberal party because he disagreed with the revived protectionism among some elements of the Tory party. Twenty years later he severed ties with liberalism and joined the Conservative party. But even while in the Tory movement, he was dead set against its policies on defence and imperialism.

Arlen Specter was a Democrat when he was young but decided to join the Republican party and became one of America’s best known and most influential senators on its ticket. Several weeks ago, he joined the Democrats, saying that his philosophy had moved closer to that of Obama’s party.

Both men had something in common — they were/are viewed as standout politicians who only crossed the aisle for political ideology. Their actions did not cause the fall of their governments. Nor did they disappear from the scene only to surface a few days later with implausible stories.

Now let us touch on Messrs Osman, Jamaluddin and Hee. Osman and Jamaluddin have no political track record to speak off. Oh but they do have something in common — a corruption charge hanging over their heads. The subterfuge surrounding their defection and their feeble performance since only suggests that their decision to cross over was not anchored on political ideology.

In Hee’s case, she is on record as saying that she was dissatisfied at her second-class status in the DAP. Not once did the trio ever give the impression that they were defecting to preserve their political beliefs or dignity.

So Mr Prime Minister, bad comparison. Also, many Malaysians view the Perak power grab as illegal and unconstitutional not because of the actions of three unknowns but because of the cavalier manner in which the Federal Constitution has been treated by some of our institutions.

• “In the running of a democracy we cannot allow the tyranny of the minority to decide for the majority.” — Datuk Abdul Zambry Kadir

So true. That is why the task of electing a state government must always be in the hands of the rakyat, the majority. And when there is a deadlock in the House or a question arises whether a government has the authority and legitimacy to rule, it must be the electorate that unties that knot. What more when Malaysia professes to be a constitutional democracy.

• "I don't want to get involved in this. I just want to give my speech, so respect my speech, when I am giving it. You understand that? If you want to work with me in future, you have to respect my speech. Understand?” — Raja Nazrin Shah

Too late. It was way too late for the Regent of Perak to say that he did not want any part in the fracas in the state assembly. What happened on May 7 did not materialise out of nowhere. It did not happen in a vacuum.

The tug-of-war for power in Perak was a natural consequence of a refusal by the Sultan of Perak to dissolve the assembly and allow Perakians to decide who should represent them.

Respect has to be earned, even if you are next in line to the throne.

Admonishing the very lawmakers who many Malaysians feel are the victims in this saga is not a good start.

• “Hati mereka ada hantu.” — Hee Yit Foong

The press corps had a field day covering Hee yesterday. She had difficulty speaking fluently in Bahasa Malaysia or English, and she looked out of her depth. But that is not her fault. Lay the blame on the people who fielded her as a candidate in Jelapang, who did not put her through a thorough screening process and who did not bother to find out whether she could communicate with her constituents. Blame the DAP.