Thursday 5 March 2009

The Call for Fresh Elections in Perak is Overwhelming: The Perak Sultan Must Listen to the Rakyat's Call and Act NOW

Read here in Malay Mail for more

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March 3, 2009 marked the FIRST time in our history that a State Assembly was convened under a tree in a car park.

We are tempted to laugh, or at least to hail it as a questionable milestone in the development of our democracy, but truly we have nothing to smile about.

The situation in Perak has degenerated to the point where an attempt to convene the State Assembly in the State Secretariat had been deemed illegal and the police allegedly threatened members of the assembly with arrest should they have tried to enter their own chamber.

The entire situation lacks legal clarity and both sides have claimed moral and constitutional justification for their actions.

Furthermore, the High Court in Ipoh has ruled that no further sitting of the Assembly can legally be called by the Speaker, but this is perhaps an abrogation of the court’s power both by virtue of the doctrine of the separation of powers, as well as the contradictory absence of that separation as has been interpreted in a judgement of the Federal Court placing the judiciary beneath the legislature.

In any case, the situation may already be moot if the “car park assembly” is recognised as legitimate: Before the High Court reached its decision, members present had resolved unanimously to dissolve the State Assembly in order to trigger fresh State elections.

As a result, there is (has been, and can be) no effective government until the impasse is brought to a satisfactory conclusion — and time has already run out.

The recent decisions of politicians in Perak have put the people of the State on a path that can now lead only towards conflict, and the longer the stalemate is allowed to persist, the greater the chance that such conflict will turn violent.

Civil institutions are on the verge of collapse: It is frankly ridiculous that the secretary of the assembly should be allowed to overrule the Speaker, or that the police should prevent elected representatives from meeting to discuss affairs of State.

Such actions set dangerous precedents in other legislatures around the country, and even in the Federal Parliament which recently saw a group of men preventing the entrance of a wheelchair-bound MP into the Dewan Rakyat — while security officers looked on passively in an unconscionable dereliction of their duties.

Should the Federal government be tempted now to declare a state of emergency in Perak?

No. Any such measure will turn not only the State but the country as a whole into a regional basket-case.

There is a single, simple and abundantly clear path out if this chaos: The mandate to govern must be returned forthwith to the people of Perak.

If the Barisan Nasional is confident that it has the democratic support it needs to govern the State, then it should not fear to seek a new mandate from the people it claims to represent.

Such a mandate will provide it the sorely needed moral justification for the continuance of its rule and will effectively crush any residual hope the Pakatan Rakyat may have of re-forming the State government.

Fresh elections are not only politically expedient, they are the correct course of action for the people of Perak.

None but the people have the right to decide their government, and any who would ignore this, ignores it at his or her own peril.




YM Tengku Razaleigh , Barisan Nasional MP Gua Musang
(Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (born 1937) is from the state of Kelantan. He is an uncle of the current Raja Perempuan of Kelantan. He is fondly known as Ku Li. He was also the Malaysian Finance Minister during the 1980s.In the 1969 general election, Razaleigh won the Parliamentary seat of Kelantan Barat. In 1971, he was elected to the UMNO Supreme Council, and was elected as a Vice-President of UMNO in 1975. After Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak's sudden death in 1976, he was appointed as Finance Minister by the new Prime Minister, Hussein Onn. )

Read here for more

" The BN’s takeover of Perak has set off a chain-reaction of illegality which has left Perak quite possibly without a legitimate government.

One of our most prosperous states has been reduced to a FAILED STATE.

One lie leads to many lies.

Each bad action leads to a cascade of follies. Particularly when the lie or violation concerns something very basic. This is a principle we teach our children. It is a simple but universal truth now being demonstrated in Perak.

With each violation the sense of decency and restraint and the habits that bind us to the Constitution are loosened.

The confidence in the rule of law that makes civilized life possible is diminished.

Laws are invisible things. They exist only when they are understood and observed. When the government of the day ignores foundational principles such as the separation of powers, the Constitution becomes a dead piece of paper.

But the Constitution is not just any law. It is the set of laws that founds our nation, defines its basic principles, guarantees our individual rights and prescribes the structures, duties, and powers which make a national community possible. It is the foundation and source of the legal authority underlying the existence of Malaysia.

Those who so blithely ignore the Constitution for political ends are quite literally wrecking the foundations of this country to further their own interests.

This must stop.

The constitutional situation in Perak gets murkier by the day, with egos and reputations entrenched in hopeless positions.

There is a simple and graceful way to clarify the situation definitively: return to the sole source of legitimate government, the will of the people as expressed through free and fair elections. Barisan might wish to show some magnanimity and confidence in calling for this. '
- Tengku Razaleigh

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