Perak Turned Into a Barbaric State

BN must make up its mind once and for all.  Does it still want to put up the pretence that Malaysia is a democracy?  If it does, should it continue to bombard our senses with such disgusting scenes and bare to the world the ugly truth of what Malaysia truly is? 

By Kim Quek

After the nonsensical assembly sitting in Perak on Oct 28, Barisan Nasional should deeply reflect whether it is worthwhile to prolong its farcical rule in the Silver State.

To say the least, the session was a complete wash out. 

First, police control and intervention inside and outside the assembly was so heavy and so overpowering that it has completely destroyed the image of our legislature as an independent and the highest institution in our system of government. 

Second, the slip-shot manner with which BN’s budget motion was rushed through makes us wonder whether the budget was legally approved.

Let us start with the budget approval.

BN’s Mentri Besar Zambry Kadir started his budget speech at 1120 hrs, and thirty minutes later, he had not only completed his speech, but had moved his budget motion  through three readings, each time approved by the BN assemblymen present, under vocal protests from Pakatan assemblymen.  There was no debate and no one seemed to have heard any detailed figures – if figures were read out then, these were not carried in many newspapers the next day anyway.  Pakatan assemblymen walked off the assembly immediately after the approval of the third reading.

A budget proposal is a statement of revenues and expenditures as well as major policies that encompass the entire government which is made up of many departments.  So, it is normally a lengthy speech, followed by debates that take place during each of the first, second and third readings.  It is hence a real marvel how the assembly could have compressed such elaborate process of proposal, deliberation and decision in all the three stages in the short interval of half an hour. 

Through such gun-shot approval, the voices of the people who speak through their representatives are muted.  Isn’t this a mockery of our democratic process and betrayal of the trust of the people?

Was budget legally approved?

On top of that is the questionable legality of Ganesan’s position as speaker.  His election as speaker on May 7 was deemed a fake, as the assembly session on that day was so chaotic and violent that it was not possible to conduct any business except the delivery of the opening speech by the Regent.  Compounding this now is Ganesan’s breach of the Perak Constitution Article 36 A (5) which stipulates that a speaker must relinquish his private practice immediately or in any case not later than three months after his appointment, failing which he shall be disqualified.  So, even if Ganesan’s appointment on May 7 was legal (which is not at all the case), he was already disqualified on Aug 7.

With an illegal speaker presiding in the assembly, can any business be conducted legally, least of all the all important agenda of the state budget approval?

No doubt, BN may be least worried about matters of illegality, confident of its iron-grip on the entire government machinery to serve its parochial interests.  After all, isn’t BN Mentri Besar Zambry, who was appointed while incumbent Mentri Besar Nizar Jamaluddin was still serving, also illegal if the courts have been upholding the constitution?  Isn’t the entire state cabinet, which was selected by Zambry, also illegal?

But can BN afford the massive loss of popular support every time the police manhandle and bully elected representatives from the opposing camp or judges dishing out blatantly unconstitutional rulings?

Barbaric police intervention

Take the ridiculous scenario of the Perak assembly of Oct 28.  The entire assembly compound was turned into a virtual war zone, with the entrance being protected by the kind of barbed wire seen only in war time.  Hundreds of policemen and riot squad who had been milling inside and outside the building manned the five check points stretching from the gate to the door of the assembly hall.  Pakatan assemblymen complained of harassment every inch of their way to the last check point where they were subjected to the humiliation of a body search and metal scan and their personal effects of hand phones, lap-tops, cameras etc being forcibly removed before they entered the hall.

On his way to the assembly hall, Speaker Sivakumar was lured to an area not visible to reporters and the public where he was pounced upon by scores of police personnel who forcibly disrobed him.  In the melee, he was punched and strangulated with an arm lock, and his colleagues roughened up for trying to protect him.

Pray, where in the world can you see such barbaric act?  Not even in the pariah state of Zimbabwe!

The picture inside the assembly hall is not any prettier. Scores of police personnel were there to man the entire assembly, with twenty of them forming a protective wall in front of the BN speaker Ganesan.  And video cameras were transmitting live the activities of Pakatan assemblymen to the state police headquarters and the national headquarters at Bukit Aman, according to a Malaysiakini report.

Now, isn’t this the ultimate humiliation and insult to the highest and the most sanctimonious institution of a democracy, with the police contemptuously treating our Pakatan law makers as a bunch of criminals?

BN must make up its mind once and for all.  Does it still want to put up the pretence that Malaysia is a democracy?  If it does, should it continue to bombard our senses with such disgusting scenes and bare to the world the ugly truth of what Malaysia truly is?