Sunday, May 10, 2009

1 Malaysia? Not Even 1 Perak!


By Dzulkifli Ahmad

The Malaysian Insider, MAY 9 — It has finally come to this. An impasse or a deadlock in the Perak state assembly for the last three months has finally turned into anarchy. A total disgrace to the nation witnessed by the entire world. In utter contempt of the legislative body, the ugly scene where a disputed speaker could summon the sergeant-at-arms to forcibly remove the rightful speaker tells it all. It wasn’t just crude and brute but smacks of contempt for the august House. The rest was hell broke lose, total chaos and a great dishonour to the nation, quite unknown and unheard of in any civilised society.

What has become of the BN government under the newly minted premiership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak? Only into the first month of his regime, he has already committed excesses which indeed spell doom for this nation. The recent spate of detentions is totally uncalled for and extremely disturbing. And all these after pronouncing his famous mantra of 1 Malaysia! Disgusting. Is he out of his mind? What 1 Malaysia is he talking about? He can’t even put 1 Perak in place!

What is most disconcerting is the fact that the entire fracas could have been tactfully avoided if only the BN could wait for the outcome of the judicial review submitted by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin that will be heard in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on Monday. Nizar would by then know whether he is successful in having the High Court proclaim him as the rightful Perak mentri besar. Why did they want the assembly to proceed in haste despite knowing of the pending ugly scenario that will shame all? Many are still left wondering.

The court decision could bring to an end the prolonged impasse in the state triggered by the defections of the three Pakatan representatives to become BN-friendly independents. This situation has allowed BN to have the strength of numbers in the state assembly, which resulted in the Perak Sultan requesting that Nizar step down and immediately appointing Datuk Zambry Abd Kadir as the new mentri besar in February.

Justice Datuk Abdul Aziz will make his ruling on Monday after having heard submissions from Nizar’s lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah. For the record, his lead counsel has reminded the court that the function of the monarch is to appoint a mentri besar after the general election and to dissolve the assembly.

Sulaiman has emphatically argued that under no circumstances can the Ruler decide to investigate or hold an inquiry to find who commands the majority and then appoint a new mentri besar. While admitting that there is a lacuna or loophole in both the Federal and Perak state constitutions on matters of removal of the mentri besar or the chief executive, such powers are, however, not provided for in the constitutions, argued the lead counsel.

Now that the situation has turned into such a dreadful ending, one can’t help thinking why has the monarch, who was once Lord President of the Supreme Court, a great legal mind, allowed this impasse to turn so chaotic and into anarchy. Couldn’t the monarch have averted all this by dissolving the legislative assembly on that fateful Feb 5 and render back to the rakyat their mundane and democratic role of electing a new government for the state in accordance with and abiding by the rules and dictates of a free and fair electoral process.

That would have doubly served the interest of safeguarding the sanctity of the constitutional monarch much as it would render the right of choosing the government of the day to the people of Perak. By so doing, not only would the monarch be above politics but actually seen to be so.

Regrettably that wasn’t made possible by political bigotry that now attempts at hoodwinking the rakyat by spinning the slogan of 1 Malaysia. It takes a different paradigm shift of mindset and leadership to bring the nation out of this mediocrity and to propel it to greater heights.

The unfortunate events of May 7 have undoubtedly showed that sanity must return in order to restore order and stability to the government in Perak. And that can only be possibly achieved by dissolving the legislative assembly and holding fresh elections. Until such time, the people of Perak and the rest of the nation must be in black, to together say that we are repugnant to consigning the death of democracy in Perak! -- The Malaysian Insider

Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad is the PAS director of strategy and also Kuala Selangor MP.

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