Cops, officials block Pakatan Perak assembly inquiry

(The Malaysian Insider) – It was like a sense of déjà vu outside the Perak State Secretariat building here this morning.

From 7am onwards, police trucks had begun pulling up to the back entrance of the building, forming a mini barricade there.

All was prepared for yet another stand-off between the Barisan Nasional (BN) government and Pakatan Rakyat (PR), much like March 3 when the latter coalition had tried to convene a state assembly sitting.

This time, however, the object of contention was a meeting of the state assembly’s Rights and Privileges Committee, which PR claims is still the legal committee, to investigate into a complaint over the “illegal” appointment of BN’s new Speaker Datuk R. Ganesan.

At about 9.50am, members of PR’s Rights and Privileges Committee approached the uniformed personnel stationed at the gates.

Leading them was Perak DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham, who was to attend the meeting as one of the four witnesses summoned to provide evidence in the investigation.

The other three witnesses were complainant Pokok Assam assemblyman Yee Seu Kai (DAP), lawyer Tommy Thomas and Ganesan, who had already announced earlier last week that he would ignore the meeting since the state assembly had already formed a new committee.

A 30-minute-long heated exchange between PR members, Ipoh CID chief Supt S. Glenn Anthony and principal assistant to the State Secretary, Shamshuzaman Sulaiman, subsequently ensued with the former arguing that they latter two individuals had no right to block them from entering the building.

The argument progressed from why elected representatives were stopped from entering “their own House” to who was issuing the directive to stop them from entering.

Ngeh said that Shamshuzaman and Glenn were infringing section 124 of the Penal Code for obstructing an elected representative from entering the state assembly building.

Glenn, however, argued that he “was not blocking them from entering but was merely acting under instructions of the State Secretary.”

Ngeh retorted that the police were not allowed to take instructions from the State Secretary.

Simpang Pulai assemblyman Chan Ming Kai, who is also a member of the PR committee, then “apologised” to Glenn and said that action would have to be taken against him.

“I am sorry but I have to inform you that we have no choice but to lodge a police report against you because you have gone against your jurisdiction by disallowing us from entering this building,” he said.

Finally, PR members, including ousted Speaker V. Sivakumar, who is chairman of the committee, demanded for an official letter from the state secretariat stating that they were not allowed to enter the building to hold their meeting.

At about 10.45am, Shamshuzaman emerged with the letter, signed by him.

In the letter, it was stated that “under orders from the State Secretary (Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Hashim), the Rights and Privileges Committee hearing scheduled for today is unable to be held as no notice had been given to the state assembly secretary”.

Ngeh pointed out that the word “unable” was inaccurate because since Sivakumar had been the one to summon the meeting, only he could decide if he was “unable” or “able” to hold the meeting.

Shamshuzaman then amended the letter 10 minutes later and removed the word “unable” and replaced it with “prohibited”.

Again, Ngeh argued a discrepancy in the letter and said that the part about the lack of notice given to the assembly secretary was wrong because notice had already been given to PR’s assembly secretary, Misbahul Munir Masduki.

During the March 3 hullabaloo, Misbahul had been appointed by the PR to replace the assembly secretary as the latter had supposedly been acting unfairly under BN’s orders.

Finally, a tired-looking Shamshuzaman crossed out the line about the assembly secretary and left the letter to state that “under orders from the State Secretary, the Rights and Privileges Committee meeting is prohibited”.

Satisfied, PR members dispersed from the grounds at about 11.15am and adjourned their committee meeting to Syuen Hotel.