Friday, June 26, 2009

ONE PERAK! ~ by Martin Jalleh

One man’s catchphrase of reform – “the culture of change” is in reality one potent chicanery and concoction of 4Cs – Corruption, Coercion, Crossovers and Coups. The self-proclaimed “people’s Prime Minister” with his recycled One Malaysia slogan, robs in broad daylight the people of Perak of their right to determine their State Government.

One haughty political party humiliated in the last general election and by a series of by-election losses, hangs on to power desperately. It hijacks a state government by high-handed, hideous and heinous means such as money politics, mysterious disappearances, mobs and manipulative manoeuvrings of the nation’s democratic institutions.

One fraudulent State Government is formed by the crossovers of two assemblymen charged with corruption, one assembly woman who compromised and reduced the price of democracy to cash and Camry – a threesome who made themselves “independent” of the will of the people – and the double-crossing over of one Umno assemblyman.

One – hand-in-glove with its political (pay)master, the one-sided Election Commission (the supposed paragon of democracy) – panders and plays to the tune of and remains pliant to Umno and its power grabbing to prevent the people of Perak from being the one paramount arbitrator to overcome the State’s political deadlock.

One farcical State Government – made up of an overwhelming 27 Umno assembly members, one MCA assembly member and three 'independent' hoppers – is portrayed as a strong representation of multiracial unity and governance! The people are expected to believe that the most divisive force, led by the most devious of characters, will make Perak one!

One interfering and intimidating show of force by the police force, assisted by Umno’s thugs and a spineless State Secretary is brazenly displayed to prevent the Menteri Besar (MB) and the Pakatan Rakyat Assembly members from entering the State Assembly. The partisan police who pathetically fail to arrest the rising crime rate in the country rise to every occasion to protect Umno’s “internal security.”

One “small boy” in the Prime Minister's Department calls the Speaker a “boy speaker.” The latter has in fact been amongst the very few who are man enough to stand up to the taunts, threats, tricks of Umno and refuse the tempting offers to commit treachery – in sharp contrast to the Minister who is well-known for his childish temper tantrums and theatrics in Parliament.

The one and only judiciary!

One open-court-shy probationary judge is chosen to decide on a constitutional matter of such monumental significance. He rules that the genuine MB must be represented by the State Legal Advisor – which means that the two political adversaries fighting for the MB’s seat have the same lawyer in the same court case! It was one historic judicial farce!

One further bizarre leap of logic, the “arrogant novice” takes. He extends his judicial purview to the proceedings of a state assembly – which the Federal Constitution clearly forbids. He issues a court order restraining the Speaker from holding any assembly meetings. The trainee judge had his contract extended for another two years! Alas, it pays to be arrogant and asinine in the judiciary!

One jaundiced judgment leads to another. Constitutionally, a Speaker or his acts in a Legislative Assembly cannot be questioned in court. Yet, one High Court judge in Ipoh dismisses the Speaker’s application to strike out the summons of the three turncoat assembly members who sought a declaration that the Speaker’s order to declare their assembly seats vacant was illegal.

One Federal Court of five unanimously myopic judges declares that the three turncoat assembly members are still members of the Perak State Legislature and that the Election Commission is the rightful entity to establish if there was a casual vacancy in the Perak State Legislature and the authority to declare a seat vacant, and not the Speaker.

One bad judgment it surely was when seen against a clause in the Perak Constitution which states: “It is only upon receiving the decision of the Legislative Assembly will the Election Commission be able to establish that there is a vacancy.” As respected and retired Court of Appeal judge N.H. Chan commented: “The Federal Court has put the cart before the horse – in this case, just the cart without the horse.”

One unanimously errant Federal Court five-judge panel declares that the Speaker's decision to suspend the illegitimate MB and six others was null and void. As was pointed out by the abovementioned “inconvenient” former judge, it was a “perverse ruling”, an “ineffectual thunderbolt”. Or in the infamous words of Justice Augustine Paul – “irrelevant”!

One dead constitution the Federal Court leaves behind. It disgracefully disregards and discards constitutional provisions to treat the doctrine of separation of powers with deference. This dastardly desecration of the Constitution is in stark contrast to the five occasions wherein the Courts had ruled that the judiciary has no jurisdiction over decisions made in legislative assemblies.

Umno & the Police are One

One black day Bolehland will never forget. A fracas takes place in the Perak State Assembly. A fraudulent State Government grabs power. One fake Speaker is installed. Police trespass into the State Assembly, forcibly drag out the Speaker and detain him for about 90 minutes against his will. Public disgust was best captured by one Umno leader, Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz, who called it – “high-handedness at its foulest.”

One silly excuse after another the Home Minister dishes out in parliament for the police’s unlawful and disgraceful action. He says: “The police were merely following the instructions of the ‘new Speaker’ ” – one who was illegitimately installed! In short, the long arm of the law aided and abetted with an illegal Speaker whom Umno smuggled into the State Assembly – a perfect start to a Police State!

One more spin by the humbug Home Minister – “what the police did was in accordance to the law.” As reputed lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar would highlight, the Perak imbroglio has made manifest the fact that the BN “took the law into its own hands”; the BN “appears to see no limits to what it is permitted to do to achieve its objectives” and the BN “considers itself a law unto itself.” The BN, Umno and the police are of course ONE – especially in Perak!

One sad, scandalous and shocking day it was indeed, when the Executive literally laid siege on the Legislature resulting in the death of the Perak and Federal Constitutions and the democratic rights of the rakyat of Perak. But one Hishammuddin Hussein was “thankful” that no “serious incidents” took place in Perak that day! One more Minister suffering from a very serious deficiency in intelligence!

One big constitutional mess

One new judge (only one month old) in the Court of Appeal continues the judicial circus. He is a one-man panel and grants the usurper MB a permanent stay of the Kuala Lumpur (KL) High Court’s ruling that Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin (Nizar) is the lawful MB. Why choose a new man and a one-man panel when the Court of Appeal has 22 judges? Why stay a declaratory order which is not normally done?

One question crops up after another. Why the “indecent haste” to grant the illegitimate MB a stay? Why was the application of the lawful MB not treated with equal urgency? The court gave a verdict as fast as about only two-and-a-half hours after the usurper made his application. Nizar had to wait eight days before his application was heard! Why?

One further major judicial misstep the Court of Appeal takes by allowing an appeal by the illegitimate MB. In a five-minute oral judgment, the appellate court reversed the brave decision of the Kuala Lumpur High Court that declared Nizar the rightful MB. For many “(t)here was no reasoned grounds of judgment but mere findings of the Court of Appeal” (Lim Kit Siang).

One big constitutional mess the learned judges leave the country in. One grave implication of the judgment is that a Sultan can sack his MB without a no-confidence vote in the State Assembly. The Agong can now sack the PM at his pleasure (and surely much to the pleasure of Bolehland) without a motion of no-confidence in Parliament!

One initial shocking piece of news was that there would be no written judgments by the “extraordinary judges in Malaysia with extraordinary abilities” in the cases related to the Perak constitutional crisis. Disturbed perhaps by their pangs of conscience, two federal Court panels explained in writing how each of their solemn mockery was arrived at.

One written judgment by Augustine Paul that the Speaker does not have the power to suspend the usurper MB and his band of six from attending the assembly, is reduced by N.H. Chan to pages of “gobbledegook.” Another by Nik Hashim bin Nik Abd Rahman that it is the EC and not the Speaker which determines a vacancy, Chan rubbishes as the “regurgitation of not administering justice according to law.”


One clear evidence from both the written judgments says N.H. Chan, is that the Federal Court judges have brought the Judiciary into disrepute or brought discredit to it, by not administering justice according to law (a “besetting sin”). They should be removed from office under the Judges’ Code of Ethics 1994. Alas, they have reduced the judiciary to one big joke!

One month has passed since the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal by the usurper MB to reverse the KL High Court decision that declared Nizar the rightful MB of Perak. The presiding judge has failed to keep his promise made after his five-minute oral judgment that the written judgment would be given in “one week.”

One working day before the 30-day appeal deadline expires, Nizar files his application for leave to appeal – without the two written grounds of judgment of the Court of Appeal that removed him as MB. He poses one pressing question: “If High Court judge Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim managed to write his 78-page judgment within four days, how come these judges cannot provide the written grounds of their judgments (after one month)?"

One colossal failure

One Perak – a State with two MBs, two Speakers, two State Governments and a police force and judiciary without the two essentials of manhood that would make them bold enough to stand up to Umno’s shameless display of belligerence, brazen high-handedness and unbridled arrogance of power.

One colossal failure it is by the PM and the illegitimate and delusional MB who compares his political struggle to that of Mandela and Gandhi. Tengku Razaleigh hit the nail on the head (of the government) when he declared: “The Perak power grab had reduced Perak into a failed state…(it) is a tragicomedy of errors and bad political judgment that reflects a failure of political leadership.”

One and only way for Perak to move forward is to go back to the people! It of course depends very much on the failed PM and also on His Royal Highness (HRH) Sultan Azlan Shah who has made it very clear that “rulers are above all politics,” and yet, prior to that HRH had very ironically made a decision above all human understanding and logic.

One MB with an indomitable spirit, one Speaker who has become an inspiration to many, one retired judge intensely committed to the law, one intrepid High Court judge who administered justice according to the law – each one of them together with every significant individual and unsung hero – represents a tiny ripple of hope when in continued synergy will surely serve as a surging and unstoppable wave of change... one day!

Martin Jalleh
25 June 2009

[The above is an improved and expanded version of an article which first appeared in the latest issue of Aliran Monthly]