Reminder of Perak constitutional crisis

— Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
Oct 02, 2012

OCT 2 — As the next general election is fast approaching, almost every day the newspapers publish stories of Datuk Seri Najib Razak and other Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders giving away goodies to win votes. Unfortunately Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders cannot afford to give away any goodies. Since the general election is near, we must not forget how PR lost control of Perak to BN.

You will remember that when the High Court on May 11, 2009 recognised Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin as the rightful mentri besar of Perak, the Court of Appeal lost no time in granting Zambry Abdul Kadir a stay of execution on the High Court decision. It did so within a few hours, in fact.

On May 22, the appellate court overturned the High Court judgment favouring Nizar, and instead ruled that Zambry was the legitimate mentri besar.

Malaysian courts have created a record with their supersonic speed in disposing of cases.

The BN is so unfair and unjust to depend on three defectors to govern the state, especially when two of the three defectors were under investigation for corruption.

During the Perak constitutional crisis, I wrote a few articles. As a reminder, I think it is worthwhile to reproduce this excerpt.

“There are many contentious points in the Federal Court’s ruling which have already been debated by other observers better versed in Malaysian constitutional law than me. However, to me, perhaps the most contentious argument was that the Sultan of Perak does not need to act on the advice of the executive council in the matter of dissolving the state legislative assembly and it was at his absolute discretion. This argument, which smacks of a system of absolute monarchy, will take Perak and the country backwards rather than forward.

“But let’s assume that the Federal Court ruling on this is correct. Is this the end of the matter? In my humble opinion, no — and I would like reiterate that the only way out of the present legal quagmire is to return the vote to the people.

“To safeguard the interest of the country and the institution of the monarchy, the voice and will of the rakyat must be respected. It has to be called on to be heard — in one way or another — because though the wheels of justice grind slowly, they grind exactingly.

“To the letter of the law a government must be answerable, and the one standing above politics must be accountable as well. In my humble opinion, Perak will regain its shine and the people’s trust when the Sultan accedes to the dissolution of the state assembly.”

As you all know Sultan Azlan Shah did not dissolve the state assembly.

My view is not an isolated one. A poll of registered voters in Perak conducted by the Merdeka Center for Public Opinion on February 8, 2009 shows that:

● 76 per cent of respondents felt that “the people through elections” should decide who forms the government in Perak. The breakdown by race was 60 per cent Malays, 88 per cent Chinese and 98 per cent Indians.

● 74 per cent of the respondents felt that the state assembly should have been dissolved after the defection of the three Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers. The breakdown by race was 59 per cent Malays, 85 per cent Chinese and 88 per cent Indians.

● 68 per cent of respondents said that the preferred option of settling the political crisis is either to hold three by-elections or state wide polls. The breakdown by race was 46 per cent Malays, 88 per cent Chinese and 80 per cent Indians.

● 66 per cent of the respondents did not accept state governments formed through defections of state assemblymen. The breakdown by race was 46 per cent Malays, 87 per cent Chinese and 73 per cent Indians.

● 62 per cent of the respondents felt that the “role of the palace in this decision” means that it does not recognise the will of the people.

● 59 per cent of the respondents felt that the political crisis in Perak would decrease support for Barisan Nasional.

Taken together, the poll by the Merdeka Center suggests that Zambry and BN may occupy the seat of government but a significant number of the citizens of the state do not accept their legitimacy to hold power.

Clearly, from the survey findings we can infer that while our politicians may have difficulties clinging onto principles and the democratic system, the rakyat know right from wrong.

They cannot stomach politicians who get voted into office on one party’s ticket and then decide to jump ship, causing that party’s popular state government to topple. They do not believe that the status of a government should be decided behind closed doors. And they want the Sultan to use his “absolute discretion” to invoke the will of the people.

  1. #1 by bumiborn on Wednesday, 3 October 2012 - 1:13 am

    Yes, Perak should go back to PR. Rakyat will have to decide again, and this time with even more majority, for sure.

  2. #2 by monsterball on Wednesday, 3 October 2012 - 2:55 am

    And now two recent judgements awarded to victims.
    Let the ex Lord President ….who is Sultan of Perak read those judgements word by word.
    Perak is lawfully and legally belong to PR…but the laws and legality were twisted.
    The fairest judgement for Perak at that time by the Sultan should be to have a re-election and not favoring umno.
    Now that the advantage given to umno….come 13th GE…if they lose Perak…to PR…shame to Najib.
    If umno B wins..nothing to be shameful for PR.

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 3 October 2012 - 3:57 am

    The Perak fiasco is another major reason why Najib has been avoiding a debate with Anwar.

    Its funny because with his increasing vitriols against PR, Najib is now inviting renew criticism for not debating Anwar.

    PR really should hound Najib for a debate. In fact making him a laughing stock for avoiding one..

  4. #4 by monsterball on Wednesday, 3 October 2012 - 6:21 am

    He is a confirmed laughing stock and a coward.
    Judgement day is coming soon for him.
    Now judges are exposing police leaders are playing politics..not doing their noble job…Najib has lost the Judicial Dept to sing to his tune.

  5. #5 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 3 October 2012 - 7:04 am

    NR said: “No need for a women’s rights movement in Malaysia” n he even admitted dat sometimes women hv MORE power than men
    Ha, ha, of cos lah, for once he spoke d TRUTH, at least what is true IN HIS family
    His stumpy char bor is by his side, what can he say, lest she sits on him causing dire consequences

    Of cos, taking over Perak by hook or by crook was NR’s finest hour n achievement, a colorful illegal feather in his cap
    Perak VOTERS: show your colors 2 NR, zombie, n UmnoB/BN in GE13, take no prisoners

  6. #6 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 3 October 2012 - 8:00 am

    DAP should avoid nominating election candidates who are debt-ridden or have financial problems as jump-ship provides a quick way for them to pay back their debts once they are elected.

  7. #7 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Wednesday, 3 October 2012 - 9:13 am

    People of perak, do show those bozos that “Umno Style” sucks big time and is totally rotten! Yeah, show them in GE13 and do it decisively.

  8. #8 by Godfather on Wednesday, 3 October 2012 - 11:06 am

    Perak will revert to Pakatan, but there is always the danger of new frogs especially when the majority is likely to remain wafer thin.

  9. #9 by sheriff singh on Wednesday, 3 October 2012 - 12:22 pm

    The Perak incident has certainly turned a lot of things upside down. Generally accepted principles legal or otherwise, the role of the Monarchy, the Judiciary, Elections Commission, good governance and so on have all been given new dimensions and meanings.

    At the end of this incident, everything was ‘legally done’ or ‘fixed’ as some might say. PR was checkmated by institutions that was perceived to act to achieve a certain result. Learn from this incident that nothing is a certainty and things can be bent and manipulated by the many gatekeepers if they have interests in the outcome.

    So should PR win the coming 13th GE, it might face the same obstacles as those that were present in this Perak’s case, and still come out losers.

  10. #10 by Peter on Thursday, 4 October 2012 - 4:20 pm

    Perak should go back to PKR. That mamak golliwog look alike is just a puppet of the BN. As for the judiciary, most rakyat, knows most of them are just U_NO goons.
    Come GE13, the Perakians will kick these current bunch of bums out. Not to forget those corrupted frogs cum traitors , esp that handicap ugly frog. We never forget. Just you wait.

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