The LoyarBurok Book Review: “Perak – A State Of Crisis” – An Unabashed Self-Indictment By The BN Government Of Its Undemocratic Takeover Of Perak

By NH Chan
27 December, 2010

[LoyarBaca’s first publication Perak: A State of Crisis (PASOC) has been a runaway hit and will soon be in Malaysia’s major bookstores through leading indie, activist distributor, Pak Chong’s GerakBudaya. We have sold out copies at hand for the moment (2nd impressions are on the way), but you may purchase them directly from GerakBudaya here. Here, after a brief hiatus, NH Chan re-appears to pen his thoughts on PASOC. ]

On the cover of Perak: A State Of Crisis, 2010 – the book is described as “Rants, reviews and reflections on the overthrow of democracy and the rule of law in Malaysia”.

On the back cover is this apt but accurate assessment by Marina Mahathir: “The people of Perak voted in March 2008 for a new government, then woke up one day to find that they had an entirely different one in place. A must read.”

Why is this book a must read? It is so because the book is a chronicle and commentary of the events that led to the unceremonious overthrow of the PR Government in Perak. The direct involvement of the BN protagonists who engineered the treacherous takeover – whose actions in that sordid episode spoke louder than words – has demonstrated unequivocally to the people of this country and to the world that they are the unquestionable “bad guys”.

With such unyielding and nefarious mindset in the BN camp, it looks like the choice for the voters in the next elections is between “good and bad”, “right and wrong”, “democracy and oligarchy” etc. The choice is obvious for no one wants to be governed by a group of self-serving people for this is the meaning of “oligarchy”; such an attitude in the psyche of the BN mindset would inevitably lead to “resource-draining corruption and rampant inequity” – to borrow a phrase from Audrey Quay in her “Editor’s Preface & Introduction” (page v) – as the Perak debacle has brought to light.

And who are these rather sinister individuals – whom, for want of a suitable nomenclature, I have called “the bad guys” – who publicly and unashamedly portrayed themselves, in actual participation, as the perpetrators in the dastardly events that followed culminating in the illegal takeover of a democratically elected State Government?

Through the work of Deborah Loh, PASOC gives the “Perak Crisis Timeline”. Here is an excerpt from the Timeline which gives a blow-by-blow account of the coup, at pages xx – xxi:

5 February 2009

At 10am, Najib has an audience with Sultan Azlan Shah, leaving the meeting once and returning to the Palace with the 4 ex-PR legislators. At this meeting, Najib presents letters of support from 28 BN Assemblypersons, and Jamaluddin, Osman and Hee, who aligned themselves to BN. The letters state that they will support whoever is named by Najib as MB of Perak. Their audience ends at 11.30am.

At 11.40am, PR files an application at the Ipoh High Court to declare the 3 seats vacant.

Sultan Azlan Shah meets Nizar at 12.50pm briefly; and issues a statement at 3pm. He deems Nizar to have lost the confidence of the State Assembly, and instructs the resignation of Nizar and all EXCOs, failing which those posts would be deemed vacant. State Secretary Abdul Rahman Hashim issues a letter instructing Nizar, EXCO members and aides to vacate their offices with immediate effect.

6 February 2009

A defiant Nizar clocks into work at 10am but is forced out 45 minutes later by the State Secretary. UMNO Assemblyperson Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir (Pangkor) is sworn in as Perak’s new MB before Sultan Azlan Shah at 4pm. Outside the Palace, some 3,000 protesting citizens are engulfed in tear gas as police try to disperse them.

10 February 2009

6 new BN EXCOs are sworn in. Another attempt by Nizar and PR EXCOs to enter the State Secretariat building is foiled. Nizar says he will continue working as MB operating from the MB’s official residence that he still occupies.

To give you an idea of the tone of the contents in the book, I would like to quote some passages in Chapter One entitled “The Real Question On Perak” by Amer Hamzah Arshad. At pages 1 – 3, he writes:

But the real issue that irks the rakyat is the fact that the capitalists and the royalty have robbed the State Government from the rakyat.

Regarding the legality of the Sultan’s decision to call for the resignation of the Menteri Besar, I am prepared to say that the decision is wrong in law. Based on the Perak Constitution, the MB does not hold office at the pleasure of the Sultan. The only way the MB goes is by way of a no confidence motion in the Legislative Assembly. The Sultan cannot just ask the MB to vacate his office.

The questions then are: who decides whether the MB ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the State LA? Should it be the Sultan or the State LA? How and where should such issues be decided?

The answers to these questions are obvious. Matters of grave importance that affect the interests of the State should be decided in the hall of the LA, and not along the corridors or halls of the Palace.

The State of Perak was robbed by the capitalists and the monarchy.

The fate of the State should not lie in the hands of allegedly corrupted politicians and a Sultan. It should be in the hands of the rakyat! Let the people of Perak decide the fate of their State through fresh elections.

Another indication of the book’s tone can be found in Audrey’s “Editor?s Preface & Introduction” at page iii:

This book is an attempt to capture the Perak Crisis in print, which we at LoyarBurok hope will serve as a focus point for how the rakyat choose to go forward together. … we explicitly have the rule of law and rational, well-founded behaviour on our agenda. We rue with disappointment the judicial system’s astounding neglect in providing the confidence that people so badly needed in a time of crisis, where equitable decisions and courageous conduct were starkly lacking from the highest echelons of our once esteemed Bench …

… if the featured commentaries in this book tolerably record the incidents that transpired in Perak, should they succeed in illuminating the string of events, courageous and disgraceful alike, that led to the removal of a democratically elected State Government – if it sets us all on guard to prevent hijackings of democracy from recurring – we have met our objective.

At page v, she says:

The fact that we have grown as a nation despite the setbacks of resource-draining corruption and rampant inequity is testament to the unique strength that lies in Malaysia, it is the gift of its communal children. We have most of us, mostly, taken care of each other. But it is time to unshackle further. To reject still-existing classism, discrimination, and oppression. If the people are to win, if Malaysia is to win, we must recognise this: that a Malaysia denied to some of us will ultimately become a Malaysia denied to all of us.

I think I have quoted enough from the book to whet your appetite to read more.

Uncannily as it may seem, the book reveals a fatalistic side of the type of personality in the psyche of the BN character. They think they are invincible, so much so that they can confess to or participate in wrongdoing and think they can get away with it. This brings to mind the nursery rhyme:

Who killed Cock Robin
“I,” said the Sparrow,
“with my bow and arrow.”

But unlike the sparrow which got away with murder, these people are accountable; they themselves and all those who are in cahoots (it means “in collusion”) with them. They have been identified and named in the book and they cannot deny it because of their direct involvement as participants in the coup. They will have to answer to the people when the next elections come.

I know we have heard politicians in BN say that they are not answerable to the people, only to the Cabinet or the Government – but don’t they realise that by this remark they are admitting that the country is being ruled by an oligarchy? For being insensitive to the feelings of the people, these politicians seem to have nailed BN’s coffin. And this book, I think, is going to be their nemesis! So do get hold of a copy of the book or buy more copies for your friends.

It looks like the book is a clarion call to us ordinary folk to wake up; “if it sets us all on guard to prevent hijackings of democracy from recurring – we have met our objective” declares the editor of the book. So let us all support the call for justice, for fair play and for integrity among our politicians. We can do this by the power of the vote.

If we do not want our country to be an oligarchy or to have draconian laws like the ISA to muzzle our freedoms, then read this book and use your vote at the next elections to change all the evil that has befallen us. Don’t forget if it can happen in Perak, it can happen again anywhere in Malaysia. For that is the price to pay for having oligarchs to rule over us. Now is an opportune time to act. But we are civilised people. We do not resort to violence to change things. We deplore the methods used by the Government in power to suppress dissent. But we will use the power of the vote.

The intrepid LoyarBurokkers of LoyarBaca (the publication arm of LoyarBurok) has produced a gem of a book. Such an outstanding book has to be a must read. I congratulate them.

NH Chan, a much respected former Court of Appeal Judge, is a gavel of justice that has no hesitation in pounding on Federal Court judges with wooden desks for heads. Retired from the Judiciary to become the People’s Judge. Wrote the explosive “Judging The Judges”, now in its 2nd edition as “How To Judge The Judges”. Once famously hinted at a possible “case match” between lawyer and judge by remarking that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (see Ayer Molek Rubber Company Berhad & Ors v Insas Berhad & Anor [1995] 3 CLJ 359 – note solicitors for one party in that case was Messrs VK Lingam & Co). We need more people like NH Chan. That’s why you should buy PASOC and his book.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Monday, 27 December 2010 - 4:29 pm

    This can only happen in a 3rd world banana country with a sham democracy.

  2. #2 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 27 December 2010 - 4:34 pm

    UMNO hasn’t even got absolute power yet and we are witnesses to such extensive corruption.

    IMAGINE if UMNO had absolute power – the corruption would be absolute!

    So Malaysians, stand up or be forever damned.

    Vote Pakatan Rakyat next GE.

  3. #3 by k1980 on Monday, 27 December 2010 - 4:54 pm

    Ivory Coast is the latest failed state to copy the Perak coup— the loser is installed as President while the winner is pushed aside. Democracy can never ever work in 3rd world basket cases such as Malaysia

  4. #4 by asia on Monday, 27 December 2010 - 5:26 pm

    When it started claimed equality.

    At the final, it is no equality.,

    It is a sign to fool non-malay support and make them think that they vote for equality but it is just a lie to fool them.


  5. #5 by loveandgratitude on Monday, 27 December 2010 - 5:42 pm

    Mr NH Chan should stand for the State & Parliamentary Seats in Perak either as PR OR MCLM Candidate.

    His presence is urgently needed in this hour of need.

  6. #6 by House Victim on Monday, 27 December 2010 - 5:50 pm

    Selangor changed Hands in 2008. But, isn’t a new bottle with old wine?

  7. #7 by yhsiew on Monday, 27 December 2010 - 5:53 pm

    It is not difficult to see from the Perak episode that BN will not vacate Putrajaya even if PR wins the 13th GE. The country will probably slide into emergency rule.

  8. #8 by monsterball on Monday, 27 December 2010 - 9:58 pm

    When ever the matter concerning Perak is discussed again….I hope the ex Lord President who is the Sultan Of Perak…can sleep well..without a spark of guilt hanging over his shoulders.
    After all…he is the one and only most well educated Sultan amongst all Sultans.
    So educated and smart he is…he should ask himself why millions of Malaysians finds him legally wrong.including the opinions of few lawyers.
    I think it will be an overwhelming clear result in favour of PR…who suffered insults and being robbed of their rights..given by voters to govern Perak…

  9. #9 by mendela on Monday, 27 December 2010 - 10:58 pm

    BTW, on the beating of Mr. Chia by Kota Damasara police, what is the difference between Mr. Chia case the LA Rodney King case?

    It seems they is not too much care about the beating of Mr. Chia by the policemen!

    Let’s all wake up!
    Such incident can happen to any of us any time in Malaysia!

    Let’s start a revolution to bring down this babaric Government!

  10. #10 by sheriff singh on Monday, 27 December 2010 - 11:10 pm

    If PR wins Perak, they should appoint NH Chan as Speaker of the State Assembly.

  11. #11 by good coolie on Tuesday, 28 December 2010 - 1:04 am

    It appears that, in this case, HRH The Sultan had to invite the party with the majority to form the State Government of Perak. With the turn-coats having signed statements of support for the Barisan, it was clear who had the majority to form the State Government. This situation is different from a vote of no confidence in an incumbent government, where the Ruler of a State has no role whatsoever at all. Please correct me if I am wrong!

    • #12 by House Victim on Tuesday, 28 December 2010 - 9:39 pm

      Hi good coolie,

      Your question can be considered to have 3 issues.

      1) Majority – is to be decided by the election. Only the then majority has the Rights to nominate a CM for the “acceptance” of the Siltan.
      The frogging should have led to vacancy for a by-election to determine if the existing should remain as majority or be changed.
      The frogging cannot be used to determine the majority.
      2) The Rights of the Sultan
      can only step in when the CM lost the confidence in the Assembly if a casting of nonconfident votes in the Assembly succeeded. Nevertheless, it has to leave to the CM to dissolve his Assembly and to call for a General State election to determine which party or parties should rule.
      The Sultan has no Rights to sack the CM, unless he is guilty of Criminal Offenses or rather being disqualified.

      3) The Rightrs of the CM
      Besides situation 2), He can also dissolve the Assembly voluntary if he see the need of a General Election to “test” the confidence of the public (voters).

      Therefore, the need of a By-election, the Rights of calling for a General Election has been denied with the illegal intrusion of the Sultan.
      Hope this helps!

  12. #13 by Loh on Tuesday, 28 December 2010 - 2:01 am

    good coolie :
    It appears that, in this case, HRH The Sultan had to invite the party with the majority to form the State Government of Perak. With the turn-coats having signed statements of support for the Barisan, it was clear who had the majority to form the State Government. This situation is different from a vote of no confidence in an incumbent government, where the Ruler of a State has no role whatsoever at all. Please correct me if I am wrong!

    Yes, you are wrong and NH Chan has explained it fully in this blog. Just search.

    The Sultan of Perak did not have the duty or responsibility to decide on who commands the support once he had appointed the Mentri Besar Nizar; the state assembly in meeting has the absolute authority in that regard. The MB does not serve during the pleasure of the Sultan. It was a coup d’etat perpetrated by the Sultan with the support of the PDRM which made the change of state government absolute. Perak is actually in a state of emergency, and since the emergency was not declared, the current Perak state government is illegal.

  13. #14 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 28 December 2010 - 8:03 am

    Come next election, the people of Perak has a heavy responsibility – to decide to take back their govt or to surrender to the maniacal oligarchs of UMNO/BN. Its a pivotal moment in Malaysian history to decide whether Malaysians are capable of taking their fates into their own hands or will they forever play the victims and NEVER to be ever independent citizens in their own right equal to other citizens in other countries.

    If Perak vote UMNO/BN, its basically saying to themselves and others that they are not equal to other citizens of other countries – their children and grandchildren will also be tainted as such and will be disrespected as lesser citizen, lesser group of people that don’t deserve to be equal to others.

  14. #15 by ktteokt on Wednesday, 29 December 2010 - 12:45 pm

    Now, isn’t the cat let out of the bag? The KL MRT project is now awarded to none other than the daughter of our silver haired sultan of Perak! Was that one of the terms of the bargain in the Perak coup??????

  15. #16 by ChinNA on Thursday, 30 December 2010 - 9:23 pm

    Will all these debates matter to making Perak better?

    what can PR offer in place of BN?

    There is even a shadow cabinet in place. Can I conclude then that PR is not ready to govern?

    Prove me wrong and I will be glad as I am not a fan of BN. Where is the alternatif?

    • #17 by ChinNA on Thursday, 30 December 2010 - 9:26 pm

      l received feedback that Penang is better governed now. But what about Selangor and Kedah?

      Perak, let’s give it a benefit of doubt.

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