Monday, March 2, 2009

Perak State Assembly under a rain-tree – history made today

Perak State Assembly under a rain-tree – history made today

History has just been made in Perak with the Perak State Assembly convened and held under a rain-tree.

Twenty-one years ago, the doctrine of separation of powers among the Executive, Judiciary and the Legislature suffered a grievous blow in the “Mother of Judicial Crisis” on 1988, from which Malaysia has not yet fully recovered.

Today, the doctrine of separation of powers has suffered another grievous blow with the powers and privileges of the legislature in Perak, attacked by the executive, both federal and state, which is also seeking to invoke unprecedented judicial interference with the legislature.

The Perak Speaker, V. Sivakumar, the legitimate Perak Mentri Besar, Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin, the legitimate senior Exco Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham, and all the Pakatan Rakyat Assembly men and women have done Perak and Malaysia proud.

They have written a glorious chapter in the history of democracy in Perak and Malaysia.

Despite the show of excessive and unnecessary force by the Police and FRU, the Pakatan Rakyat Assembly representatives were undaunted and were able to conduct its short but historic proceeding under a rain-tree.

Shame to the Barisan Nasional and UMNO leaders. They are afraid of the Perak State Assembly meeting. They are also afraid of returning the mandate to the people with the holding of state general elections.

There is no stronger proof of the illegitimacy of Zambry as Perak Mentri Besar as a result of the illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak orchestrated by Najib Razak.

Under-tree Assembly
The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, March 3 – 10.35am The Perak State Assembly, convened under the shade of a rain tree, has been adjourned.

10.28am The state assembly has passed a vote of confidence in Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin as mentri besar of Perak. The assembly has also passed another vote calling on Nizar to seek a dissolution of the legislature and pave the way for fresh elections

Meanwhile, Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim has ruled that five lwayers, including constitutional expert Tommy Thomas, have no locus standi to represent the Perak Speaker in court.
He says the Speaker must be represented by the state legal advisor because he is part of the state government

10.20am Perak V Sivakumar has put on his robes by the roadside near the state secretriat and appears to be preparing to convene assembly right there under the shade of a rain tree. They are now tabling the first motion.

Meanwhile, across town, lawyers fro BN are attempting to stay the proceedings of the state assembly until a suit on the suspension of BN exco members is heard later today.

9.58am Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen have decided to leave the scene to avert violence. They will hold a press conference shortly where they are likely to announce new venue for assembly sitting.

9.52am Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen are now standing toe-to-toe with riot police at the entrance, while supporters have linked hands behind the lawmakers.
At the side two trucks with water cannons are poised for action

9.44am Nizar and Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen are now being stopped by police from entering the building. Police apparently allow Speaker V. Sivakumar apparently to enter.

9.40am A scuffle has broken out between five men and Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen trying to enter the state secretariat compound.

The five men claim to be independent and are trying to push Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin and Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen away from the entrance.

9am More than 100 people now have gathered at the Perak state secretariat, which is cordoned off by a similar number of riot police with shields.

8.45am Lawyers representing Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat are gathering at the Ipoh High Court where a series of lawsuits have been filed against the Perak Speaker.

Emergency assembly convened in car park
Malaysiakini | Mar 3, 09

At an emergency assembly meeting held under a tree in a car park next to the state secretariat, the Pakatan representatives passed motions to support Nizar as the menteri besar as well as to dissolve the state assembly.

Meanwhile at the Ipoh High Court, a new twist developed when judge Ridwan Ibrahim told Speaker Sivakumar’s lawyers that they had no legal standing to represent the speaker, who should be represented by the state legal advisor.

See below as developments unfolded.


10.57am: Nizar also urged the people to stay calm and follow the law. He urged them not to emulate the troublemakers who had tried to stop him and the other representatives from entering the state secretariat earlier today.

10.53am: Ngeh also said that Speaker Sivakumar will initiate contempt proceedings against the police and the state secretary.

10.50am: State DAP chief and senior exco member under the Pakatan government Ngeh Koo Ham: “It is a very sad day. We have descended into a police state.”

10.49am: Nizar says that he will try to get an audience with the Sultan of Perak to inform him the decision of the House. He insisted that the sitting was held in accordance with the rules and regulations.

10.46am: Nizar at the press conference: “We held sitting under a tree based on the doctrine of necessity because we were prevented from entering the assembly but we had to fulfil our duties based on the notice issued by the speaker”.

10.35am: A new twist at the Ipoh High Court. Speaker Sivakumar’s lawyer Tommy Thomas held a press conference to say that the judge had ruled that private lawyers have no legal standing to represent the speaker.

Thomas said that according to judge Ridwan Ibrahim only the state legal advisor can act for the speaker since he (the speaker) is part of the state government.

With this ruling, Thomas and the other lawyers withdrew themselves from representing Sivakumar. Thomas said that they would be taking instructions from Sivakumar on the next course of action.

Thomas also said that their arguments that it would be a conflict for the state advisor to represent the speaker was dismissed by the judge.

He also said that the judge dismissed their application to conduct watching brief with the right to submit on behalf of the speaker.

The issue of legal standing was raised by Zambry’s lawyers.

10.31am: Sivakumar is now heading towards the DAP headquarters nearby where he will be holding a press conference to explain the next course of action. Nizar is also expected to hold a press conference there. The DAP HQ is located right opposite the state secretariat’s rear entrance.

10.30am: The speaker has adjourned the historic assembly meeting. Sivakumar will now have to present the motions to the Sultan of Perak for further action.

10.25am: The second motion to dissolve the state assembly was also mooted, debated and passed unanimously.

The emergency sitting under the tree also passed a third motion - to adopt the decision of the rights and privileges committee headed by Sivakumar to suspend Zambry and his six exco members.

10.23am: The first motion was passed unanimously. Every present Pakatan representative shouted ’setuju’ (agree) when a vote was taken on the motion.

10.20am: The first motion to express confidence on Nizar as the menteri besar is being tabled now.

10.18am: Sivakumar is in his full speaker’s robe to chair the meeting. It is held in a very formal manner. He told the viewing crowd not to clap or cheer and to respect the meeting.

10.15am: The meeting starts with a prayer session, It is held under a tree, without any chairs for the state representatives and the speaker to sit.

10.13am: Speaker Sivakumar has decided to hold the emergency meeting right at the car park. All Pakatan representatives are present. Some 300 people are watching this historic proceeding.

10.08am: Speaker Sivakumar and Nizar are also seen with the other state representatives at the car park. The impromptu meeting is still proceeding there.

10.05am: Meanwhile at the Ipoh High Court, lawyers from both sides are learnt to have been in the judge’s chambers for the past 30 minutes.

10.01am: The Nizar entourage has stopped at the car park located some 50 metres away from the state secretariat’s main entrance and are huddled in a meeting. Speaker Sivakumar is not in this group.

10am: Nizar and the state representatives are leaving the area. They are headed to the DAP headquarters and will be holding a press conference there.

Some 200 Pakatan supporters are still waiting at the state secretariat entrance.

9.55am: Ipoh police chief Azisman: “I have spoken to both Ngeh and the state secretary (Abdul Rahman Hashim) and the state secretary said no one is allowed to enter the state secretariat”.

9.53am: Senior state exco member under the Pakatan government Ngeh Koo Ham is still trying to negotiate with Ipoh police chief to allow them to enter the state secretariat.

9.50am: Eye-witnesses are saying that the police have asked Speaker Sivakumar alone to enter the state secretariat. This could not be confirmed.

9.49am: The police are ordering the crowd to disperse. The crowd is shouting ‘Hidup Rakyat!’.

9.45am: Ipoh OCPD Azisman Alias refuses to negotiate, says no one is allowed to enter. The police are pushing away the Pakatan state representatives away from the main entrance. The situation is very chaotic.

9.40am: Nizar’s people are negotiating with the police now as the FRU are not allowing anyone inside the state secretariat. The crowd now stands at about 200, most of whom are Pakatan supporters. The water cannon in pointed towards the crowd.

9.35am: A group of people numbering about 30 are blocking Nizar and gang from heading towards the main entrance. No police interference. Nizar and group just walked past them to the main entrance.

9.30am: Ousted Menteri Besar Nizar and his state representatives arrive at the state secretariat.

9.25am: A slanging match ensues between BN and Pakatan supporters at the main entrance of the secretariat. The BN supporters showered profanities at the Pakatan lot who had been shouting ‘reformasi!’.

9.21am: The police and FRU trucks are blocking the main entrance to the state secretariat. The Pakatan state representatives are expected to try to get into the building to go to the state assembly through this entrance.

9.20am: The crowd - a good multi-racial one - at the state secretariat has swelled to about 100 now.

9.15am: Pakatan state representatives who had earlier met at a nearby hotel are on their way to the state secretariat.

9.10am: Lawyers from both sides are in the court house.

9am: About 40 FRU personnel in full gear position themselves at the rear entrance of the state secretariat. Some of them are armed with rifles and tear-gas launchers.

8.55am: At the Ipoh High Court - no crowd, no police. Only lawyers for the speaker are present so far. This defence team is led by constitutional expert Tommy Thomas, Chan Kok Leong, Philip Koh Tong Ngee and Augustine Antony. Several other lawyers are expected to join them.

Perak MB Zambry Abd Kadir’s two applications will be heard today. The first is on the Speaker Sivakumar’s use of the undated resignation letters of three BN-friendly independents to vacate their state seats. The second is over the suspensions of Zambry and his six exco members.

The matters will be heard before Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim at High Court 4.

Zambry and Co are not expected to be present in court today. Their defence team is led by Mohd Hafarizam Harun with Badrul Hishah Abd Wahab, Faizul Hilmy Ahmad Zamri.

8.50am: About 50 curious onlookers have gathered at the rear entrance of the state secretariat. “No signs of any trouble,” says Malaysiakini journalist Andrew Ong.

8.30am: Roadblocks have been set up since yesterday along the main road leading to the state secretariat. No vehicles are allowed near the building.

More than 100 police personnel are on standby at the state secretariat. Dozens of journalists are also ready for action.

8.15am: The main entrance to the state secretariat building in Ipoh is shut, denying access to anyone wanting to enter the secretariat. A huge police presence is also visible around the state secretariat.

The police have also cordoned off the road at the back of the state secretariat. Federal Reserve Unit trucks and water cannons are on standby as well.

Yesterday state police chief Zulkefli Abdullah had warned people not to gather at the state secretariat.

The Pakatan Rakyat state assemblypersons have planned to gather at the main entrance of the state secretariat at 10am before going into the state assembly located in the secretariat to conduct their emergency meeting.

Meanwhile Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir’s legal suits against Speaker V Sivakumar is expected to be heard at 9am at the Ipoh High Court.

Perak drama: Emergency sitting at vacant lot ends
The Star | 3rd March 2009

(10:40am) At the High Court, Sivakumar’s lawyers withdraw from the case after Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim rules that private lawyers have no locus standi and cannot represent the Speaker.

Ridwan says that under the Government Proceedings Act, the Speaker can only be represented by the state legal advisor, or lawyers appointed by the latter, because he is part of the state government.

Sivakumar’s lead counsel, constitutional expert Tommy Thomas, says they will await further instructions from the Speaker. He said they were refused speaking rights under Ridwan’s ruling.

(10:35am) Nizar proposes that the emergency sitting of the assembly be adjourned. Sivakumar adjourns.

(10:25am) Titi Serong rep Dr Khalil Idham says Nizar is the rightful mentri besar and wants him to continue. Canning assemblyman Wong Kah Woh says that Pakatan has ruled the state well since taking over last March.

Teja rep Chang Lih Kang proposes a motion asking for the dissolution of the state assembly to call for a new election.

Both motions are agreed to by all Pakatan reps.

(10:20am) After “doa selamat” prayers, the meeting commences with the hearing of the first motion from Titi Serong assemblyman Dr Khalil Idham Lim Abdullah.

He says the trust and support have been given to Nizar as mentri besar. Sivakumar asks for the motion to be debated.

(10:15am) Although allowed entry into the state secretariat building, Sivakumar did not go in. Attired in the official garb of the Speaker, he declares a vacant lot about 200m from the building as the venue for the emergency sitting.

(10:05am) Nizar gets into his car. Discussions going on between PAS, PKR and DAP assemblymen and Members of Parliament (MPs) on their next course of action. One MP is in the car with Nizar.

They are expected to head towards the DAP state headquarters where they might hold a press conference.

(10:00am) Pakatan assemblymen and Nizar not allowed into building, but police allow Sivakumar to enter. A policeman says, “YB tidak boleh masuk (Yang Berhormat is not allowed in).”

Pakatan supporters make a protective ring around their assemblymen so that they will not be chased away. Assemblymen start moving away however.

(9:45am) At the High Court, lead counsels for both sides are briefing the judge in chambers. They emerge from chambers at 10:17am to brief their legal teams.

(9:40am) Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen, including former mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, arrive at state secretariat building for emergency sitting of Assembly called by Sivakumar to vote on two motions related to the constitutional crisis in Perak.

Barisan Nasional supporters have lined up to prevent them from entering. Some pushing and shoving going on.

(9:00am) Federal Reserve Unit personnel have been deployed in front of state secretariat building, at least seven trucks being used to block main entrance. Police had already set up roadblocks on roads leading to the building earlier this morning.

A small crowd has gathered, comprising party members, lawyers, supporters and many members of the media.

(8:45am) Lawyers from both sides start arriving at Ipoh High Court in preparation for hearing of lawsuit filed by Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir against State Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar.

Dr Zambry is seeking a court declaration that Sivakumar’s suspension of Dr Zambry and his six excos from the state assembly is unconstitutional.

IPOH: All eyes are on Perak Tuesday as the former Pakatan Rakyat state government, which maintains it is still the legitimate administration, attempts to oust the newly-formed Barisan Nasional government through an emergency sitting of the state assembly.

The emergency sitting was called by State Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar, saying he was invoking Standing Orders 8 and 11 so that the assembly could vote on two motions.

While he declined to reveal what the motions were, except to say that they involved the constitutional crisis in Perak, former senior executive council (exco) member Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham later said the two motions involved seeking the dissolution of the State Assembly and reaffirming support for Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as mentri besar.

The current Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir of Barisan has described the emergency sitting as “invalid and unlawful” because it had not received the consent of the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah.

“He has used his powers unfairly to achieve his own political agenda and he had ridiculed the proceedings of the House,” he said.

Pakatan lawyers say the Ruler’s consent was only needed to summon a sitting by way of royal proclamation if the assembly had been dissolved or prorogued (adjourned by royal prerogative). But because the last sitting was adjourned, the assembly could carry on its usual business in an emergency session.

Sivakumar had earlier barred and suspended Dr Zambry and his six exco members from the assembly.

To prevent the sitting from taking place, the current administration issued orders for the entrance to the state secretariat be barred. Police and Federal Reserve Unit personnel were already deployed late Monday to prevent anybody from entering.

Snap polls
Pakatan, which took over the state after the 12th general election last March, has been trying to call for new state elections after it begin to see its rule slipping away earlier this year.

The crisis began on Jan 25 when Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim resigned from Umno to join Pakatan component party PKR, which led to rumours of many more cross-overs to and from both sides of the political divide.

The crisis deepened after Behrang assemblyman Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Changkat Jering assemblyman Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu, both from PKR and both facing corruption charges, went “missing” for a few days, only to resurface after a few days to announce they were quitting their party.

At the same time, Jelapang assemblyman Hee Yit Foong announced she was quitting DAP, another Pakatan component party.

All three declared they would remain independent but pledged their support for Barisan.

At the time, Sivakumar said that he had received letters from the three reps saying they were also vacating their seats, but the Election Commission decided that the resignation letters were not valid as they were undated and that there was no need for by-elections in their constituencies.

To add salt to Pakatan’s wound, Nasarudin announced he was switching back to Umno after fewer than 10 days as a PKR man.

With that, both Barisan and Pakatan held 28 seats each in the state assembly, but the three independents’ pledge of support to Barisan tipped the balance enough for Sultan Azlan Shah to declare Barisan as having the support of the majority and he refused Nizar’s request for the state assembly to be dissolved and snap elections be called.

Court battles
The tussle will also play out in the courts, with Nizar having filed an application for a judicial review to challenge the legitimacy of Dr Zambry as Perak mentri besar.

The case will be heard on Tuesday before High Court (Special Powers and Appellate) Court judge Lau Bee Lan, six days after Judicial Commissioner Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof recused himself from hearing the suit.

In his application for a judicial review, Nizar is seeking an interpretation of the Perak state constitution on whether the mentri besar’s post can be vacated in a situation whereby:

* THE mentri besar had advised the ruler on the dissolution of the state legislative assembly;
* THERE is no dissolution of the assembly;
* THERE was no motion of confidence performed against him at the state legislative assembly;
* THERE was no resignation made by him.

He is also seeking a declaration that he is the legal mentri besar of Perak and asking for an injunction to stop Zambry from carrying out the duties and functions of the mentri besar; and also punitive, aggravated and exemplary damages and costs.

On Monday, Perak executive councillor Mohd Zahir Abdul Khalid served an originating summons on behalf of the three independent reps — Jamaluddin, Mohd Osman and Hee — seeking a court declaration that they were still elected representatives of their constituencies.

The three were challenging the Speaker’s decision that they had resigned and that their seats were vacant. This case will be heard on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Dr Zambry has sought a court declaration to make illegal Sivakumar’s suspension of him and his six exco members. This case will also be heard on Tuesday morning.

Dr Zambry said he was seeking a declaration that Sivakumar’s decision was unconstitutional and ultra vires the state constitution.

He sought declarations that he and his exco members had the right to attend sittings and that the House was not to be bound by any rules by, or instructions from, the Speaker.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can anybody find out what tree is that?
It will now on be the witness of the history of Perak and Malaysia!