Art Harun, lawyer
Manchester United vs Barcelona.
Just imagine. 65000 spectators. 22 players on the field. One football.You all know what I am talking about. Yes. It is about the mayhem in Perak yesterday.
The atmosphere in Rome is electric. Banners and flags. Trumpets and drums. Riot police and pitch marshals. All the trappings of a top notch game are there. Barcelona starts. Scores 5 goals in 5 minutes. Manchester United are stunned. Barcelona wins.
But the crowd was jeering. All 65000 of them. What is wrong? Where is the trophy?
Oh yes. They forget.
The referee had NOT even blown the starting whistle yet. In fact, Barcelona simply CHANGES the referee when the ORIGINAL referee is still in control of the match.
Surely, the above scenario must be a nightmare, right?
I (am not) going to say who is right and who is wrong.
For the purpose of this posting, I am just going:
- To assume that the BN assemblymen together with the 3 independents assemblymen formed the majority at the Assembly.
- To accept the postulation that Zambry is the Menteri Besar of Perak.
- Consequestly, to assume that the Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen were the minority.
- (Assume) Nizar was not the Menteri Besar of Perak.
- To accept as a fact that the motions were file properly and in accordance with rules of procedures of the Assembly.
But Here's the Problem During the Perak Assembly on 7 May 2009:
Now, the main questions are:
- whether Sivakumar's removal was valid or otherwise.
- whether Ganesan's appointment as the Speaker was valid or otherwise.
I will rely on Anil Netto's updates for this post. According to his updates, the following took place during the so called Assembly :-
10:01 -10.03 : Speaker Sivakumar is inside the Dewan now, making an announcement. All those who have not been invited are requested to leave the Dewan.The Law on Meetings:
Speaker Siva is asking the seven suspended BN members to leave, if not, he warns the Dewan will not sit. He is also asking the three defectors to leave. He says their court cases have not yet been settled.
10.04: The Dewan is in uproar.
10:05: Outside, police are rushing from the Democracy Tree, heading somewhere.
10:10: The seating arrangements appear to have been changed, so the Pakatan Aduns took the name plates and transferred it back to the original place.
10:11: The 10 BN Aduns who put forward the motion to remove the Speaker have been ordered to leave the Dewan.
10:14: As long as the 10 suspended BN Aduns are not leaving, the Speaker refuses to proceed.
10:18 : The Dewan is in uproar.
10:21: Zambry has put up a proposal to remove the Speaker, and the BN Aduns are taking a vote.
10:22: But the Speaker is rejecting the motion saying that those who have put up the motion had been ordered to leave the Dewan.
10:23: "Keluar!" shouts the Speaker, who insist he won't continue proceedings until the 10 leave.
10:27: Siva says the Dewan is NOT able to convene.
10:28: He still insists the 10 should leave. "I am not suspended," says Siva. Those suspended are the BN Aduns.
10:29: Siva is asking the security to do their job.
10:33: The assembly will NOT continue until the 10 leave.
10:34: Zambry has been ordered out.
10:39: The Dewan secretary Misbahul Munir, appointed by the Pakatan under the Democracy Tree, has left the building.
10:43: A female BN Adun is requesting security to remove the Speaker. They are saying that they have the 31 votes to remove the Speaker and they want the Deputy Speaker to take over.
10:47: But the Speaker had already left the House to escort the Raja Muda. Now they appear to be blocking the Speaker from coming back.
10:55: The Deputy Speaker, Hee, appears to have taken over proceedings. Sitting next to the Speaker, she says he has been suspended.
10:56: Siva doesn't have a mike. They have appointed Ganesan as the new Speaker. The Pakatan Aduns are angry.
11:02: Ganesan appears to have been "sworn in" and gone through the motions. But Siva is still in his seat.
The law on meetings is clear and already established.
- In an Assembly, the Speaker acts as the "Chairman" of the House.
- He decides on the commencement of the Assembly. He maintains order and decorum.
- In short, he chairs the meeting. Pure and simple. In a football match, he is like the referee. This can't be any clearer.
Was there an Assembly in Perak yesterday?
In actual fact and in law, no, there wasn't!
The Assembly was called. I am going to assume that the call for the Assembly was validly done.
(But) the Speaker - Sivakumar, that is - had NOT started the meeting yet.
At the outset, he was doing some "house cleaning". House cleaning is done in every meeting before the meeting commences. This is to ensure that the meeting goes on smoothly and validly.
What happened was Sivakumar had asked those whom he thought were not supposed to attend the Assembly to leave.
The fact is he had NOT called for the meeting to start. And the meeting had not started.
Had it started, there would have been the customary prayers. And the Sultan or Raja Muda would have been invited to address the House. But these were not done.
Of course they were not done. The were not done because the meeting had not started.
If the meeting had not started, how could Zambry move the House to vote for his motions? Clearly he could not do so.
Because those motions were there to be moved during the Assembly and for the Assembly to vote on. But the Assembly had not started.
So the question is, he was moving the motions before who? Or what?
Hee Yit Foong Could NOT Take Over as Sivakumar was still Present as Speaker
Hee said she was the Deputy Speaker. And that she had taken over. But excuse me. How could she take over when Sivakumar, the Speaker, was present and was not in any way incapacitated to conduct the Assembly.
In fact, he had conduct of the Assembly, until he was forcibly removed from the House.
It is thus clear as daylight that Sivakumar is still the Speaker of the Assembly. He had not been removed by the Assembly. That is because there was no Assembly yesterday.
As for Ganesan, he has been appointed a Speaker. As to the exact body of which he is supposed to be the Speaker, I do not know.
It is just based on logic and a bit of knowledge on the general law of meetings.
Which brings me to another thought. When Sivakumar, as the Speaker, orderd the 10 Assemblymen to leave and they refused, Sivakumar then asked the security to do its job.
My question is this. Why didn't the sergeant-at-arms at that point in time move to execute an order given by the Speaker to remove those Assemblymen?
It must be remembered that at that particular time (namely, when Sivakumar asked those Assemblymen to leave), Sivakumar's authority as the Speaker was yet to be challenged. He was at that time undoubtedly the Speaker having conduct of the Assembly.
Why didn't the sergeant-at-arms execute his valid order?
If we compare the sergeant-at-arms's action in forcibly removing Sivakumar later with his earlier reluctance to follow Sivakumar's order (when in fact at that particular time Sivakumar's authority as the Speaker was yet to be challenged), it reflects a certain degree of favouritism on his part. If so, that is quite unbecoming of him.