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In 1993 … February 13, 2009

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Human Rights, Malaysia, Note2Self, Politics.
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Tarikh : 18-01-1993

Tuan Yang di-Pertua, Saya mohon mencadangkan iaitu Rang Undang-Undang bernama Suatu Akta untuk meminda Perlembagaan dibacakan kali yang kedua sekarang.Tuan Yang di-Pertua, Izinkan saya memperkenal dan mengulas Akta yang telah saya sebutkan tadi.

2. Ketika negara menuntut kemerdekaan, pemimpin-pemimpin negara yang telah mendapat kemenangan besar dan sokongan padu dalam Pilihanraya Umum tahun 1955 telah membuat pilihan supaya sistem pemerintahan di negara ini ialah sistem Demokrasi Berparlimen atau `Parliamentary Democracy` dan Raja Berperlembagaan atau `Constitutional Monarchy`.

3. Sistem ini dipilih kerana semasa negeri-negeri Melayu diperintah melalui sistem feudal dengan kuasa di tangan Raja, negeri-negeri Melayu adalah begitu lemah dan pentadbirannya berada dalam keadaan kucar-kacir. Negeri- negeri ini tidak dapat menentukan keamanan dan menguatkuasakan undang-undang. Akibatnya negeri-negeri ini terpaksa meletakkan diri di bawah naungan kuasa-kuasa asing seperti Cina, Siam dan Barat. Akhirnya semua negeri Melayu ditakluki oleh British dan diperintah sebagai tanah jajahan British melalui perjanjian di antara Raja-Raja yang memerintah dengan pihak Kerajaan British.

4. Selepas Perang Dunia Kedua, Raja-Raja Melayu berharap apabila British mentadbir semula kedudukan mereka sebagai Raja yang berada di bawah nasihat pegawai-pegawai British akan dikembalikan. Negeri-negeri Melayu akan sekali lagi diperintah oleh British walaupun tidak seperti Singapura, Pulau Pinang dan Melaka, di mana British berkuasa penuh.

5. Bagi majoriti rakyat Melayu negeri-negeri Semenanjung, mereka juga bersedia menerima pemerintahan di mana keMelayuan negeri-negeri Melayu diakui oleh British, walaupun pentadbiran dikuasai hampir sepenuhnya oleh British. Namun ada pendapat di kalangan sebilangan orang Melayu bahawa negeri-negeri Melayu sepatutnya dibebaskan daripada pemerintahan kolonial British sama sekali.

6. Orang Melayu hanya sedar akan kemungkinan mereka diketepikan dan menjadi pengemis di negeri mereka sendiri apabila Raja-Raja Melayu tunduk kepada ugutan MacMichael dan menandatangani perjanjian baru dengan British yang menyerahkan negeri-negeri Melayu terus kepada British untuk diperintah sebagai tanah jajahan takluk British sama seperti Singapura, Pulau Pinang dan Melaka.

7. Oleh kerana begitu mudah Raja-Raja menyerahkan Singapura, Pulau Pinang dan Pangkor kepada penjajah dan kemudiannya menyerah pula negeri-negeri Melayu, maka rakyat tidak lagi boleh menerima sistem yang memberi kuasa hanya kepada Raja dan rakyat tidak diberi peranan apa-apa dalam politik negara. Lagi pun selepas Perang Dunia Kedua, Sistem Raja berkuasa penuh sudah menjadi lapok di seluruh dunia. Di merata-rata tempat Sistem Beraja ditamatkan terus. Di mana ia dikekalkan, kuasa Raja dihadkan oleh Perlembagaan atau undang-undang asas negara. Justeru itu, semasa Persekutuan Tanah Melayu menuntut kemerdekaan, pemimpin- pemimpin rakyat telah mengkaji sistem-sistem pemerintahan dengan mengambilkira sejarah negeri-negeri Melayu dan sistem-sistem pemerintahan lain.

Tuan Yang di-Pertua, (more…)


“We have to defend our rights” February 10, 2009

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics.
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Tian Chua speaks on the current political situation at CNY DUN Bkt Lanjan Open House at Desa Jaya, Kepong. (BM and Mandarin)

(Perak) Black is back on Tuesday February 9, 2009

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics.
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Wear black on Tuesday. That’s what the SMSs from Ipoh are urging us. Perak-ians are stylish even when they protest.

Tuesday is also the day there will be 2 teams reporting to work at SUK Perak. 

On Sunday night, Anil Netto (who is doing an amazing live reporting job there) reported 35,000 people who turned up to hear Anwar Ibrahim, MB Nizar Tan Seng Giaw and Hadi Awang. Others said 10,000. All I know was that the place was jammed-packed. I met Lim Kit Siang in Melaka that evening, who was exiting the memorial for the late Sim Mok Yu just as I was entering. 

In the middle of my open house at Desa Jaya Monday morning, I received the sudden and sad news that MP for Bukit Gantang, the late Roslan Shaharum passed away. He was found on the roadside, and was said to have had a heart attack while cycling to the pharmacy. PAS officials said it was likely stress and lack of rest contributed to this. 

May he rest in peace and that we honour him by trouncing UMNO-BN during the by-election.

Below is a statement of condolence for the late Sim Mok Yu, sent out on 7 February:- (more…)

(Perak) CNY with Najib, ex-PKR in court Tuesday February 7, 2009

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics.
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Furious Perak-ians have been sending out this SMS all day Friday:-

Perakians! Let’s boycott the Chinese New Year celebration with Najib Tun Razak in Ipoh tomorrow (7 Feb) as a protest against the corrupt takeover of the Perak govt n rob the people of their elected govt. Pls forward


The 2 ex-PKR chaps are due in court on coming Tuesday morning for the corruption trial. 9 am, Sessions Court 3, Ipoh. Their lawyers certainly want to see them, as do thousands of other people equipped old shoes, without having to hide behind Najib. Dare they turn up in court?

A fellow party member told me yesterday that the two have been asking to meet him. I asked if they plan to fall down on their knees begging forgiveness (which would make it easier for him to kick their faces) or offer him money. He’s not sure.

The ex-DAP still hasn’t reopened her service centre in Jelapang since CNY. Thousands of her constituents await her. 

Umno leaders found a new vocabulary “derhaka” in their pocketbook dictionary, but conveniently blacked out the fact that they were the ones who led a major onslaught against the royal houses in the era of big hair and even bigger shoulder pads.

MB Nizar still holds fort in his official residence. Tengku Razaleigh says Nizar is still MB in the Star today.

Journalist Anil Netto stays put in Ipoh to cover the ongoing Perak saga live. I’ve got a dozen meetings and programmes this long weekend.

(Readings) Perak, A Constitutional Crisis February 6, 2009

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Malaysia, Politics, Readings.
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Perak, A Constitutional Crisis
Malik Imtiaz Sarwar 

Now that the dust is settling, it is becoming clearer what it is that took place in Perak over the last twenty-four hours. My respectful view is that His Highness may have acted erroneously in directing the resignation of the Mentri Besar.

As always, it will be useful to consider the objective facts. They are as follows:

  • His Highness, the Sultan of Perak, granted audiences and in doing so was made to understand that the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly no longer support the incumbent Mentri Besar. Of these, three memberships are disputed in view of letters of resignation having been tendered to the Speaker. The Speaker has taken the position that the letters are valid and as such the two members are no longer members. Further, legal proceedings are being contemplated
  • excluding the three disputed memberships, both the Pakatan Rakyat and the Barisan Nasional each hold influence over twenty-eight members
  • twenty-eight members have indicated in private to His Highness that they no longer have confidence in the incumbent Mentri Besar. With the three disputed memberships, this number increases to thirty-one
  • no vote of confidence has been moved at the Assembly
  • the incumbent Mentri Besar made a request for dissolution of the Assembly. This request was not made on the basis that the majority of members had lost confidence in the Mentri Besar. Rather, it was made on the basis that in the circumstances it might be appropriate for fresh elections to be held in the State
  • on 5th February 2009 His Highness refused the request and directed the Executive Council to resign. From a statement issued by the palace, this directive was based on His Highness having refused the request for dissolution.
  • crucially, the directive was made in accordance with Article 16(6) of the Perak Constitution. This article provides that where a request for dissolution is made as a consequence of the Mentri Besar ceasing to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Assembly and His Highness refuses, the incumbent Mentri Besar must tender the resignation of the Executive Council.

From the above, it is apparent that His Highness considered the situation to be one in which the Mentri Besar had ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the members. In doing so, His Highness accepted the three disputed members as still being members of the Assembly and as such approached the situation on the assumption that the Barisan block outnumbered Pakatan by three instead of one. It must be borne in mind that:

  • as noted above Article 16(6) is specifically directed to a no-confidence scenario, that is the incumbent Mentri Besar can seek the dissolution of the Assembly upon his having ceased to command the confidence of the majority
  • Article 36(2) however provides more generally that His Highness has the power to dissolve the assembly. It is clear that this provision is aimed at allowing His Highness to dissolve the Assembly for other reasons thought to be appropriate
  • as a matter of law His Highness is empowered to do what is permitted under the Perak Constitution and the Federal Constitution. This is the essence of a constitutional monarchy
  • the Perak Constitution does not empower His Highness to dismiss the Mentri Besar. The manner in which the Mentri Besar is to be removed from office is as provided for under Article 16(6), through a refusal to dissolve the Assembly at the request of the Mentri Besar when the Mentri Besar has ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the Assembly.

It is apparent that His Highness had moved on the assumption that the request for dissolution was prompted by the Mentri Besar having ceased to command the confidence of the majority. This may have been based on a misapprehension of the situation and the appeal to the Sultan to dissolve the Assembly for reasons other than confidence. If so, then the directive to resign was arguably not tenable.

However, it could be said that all things considered His Highness had come to the conclusion that in any event the Mentri Besar no longer commanded confidence. In this context, the central question is whether His Highness was empowered to conclude that the incumbent Mentri Besar no longer commanded the confidence of the Assembly without there having been a vote of no confidence.

There is precedent. The Federal Court had in 1966 (Stephan Kalong Ningkam) determined that a similar provision of the Sarawak Constitution required there to be a vote of no confidence taken in the Assembly before the Chief Minister was obliged to resign. The decision was based on several key factors that I believe to be relevant to this discussion. These were:

  • the Sarawak Constitution did not empower the Governor to dismiss a Chief Minister
  • the phrase “confidence of the majority” was a term of art and could be read as implying the need for a vote of confidence or a vote on a major issue. The Court took into consideration the fact that the Sarawak Council Negri should, in principle, manage its own affairs.
  • no vote had been taken in the Council Negri and instead the Governor had come to his conclusion based on extraneous matters, particularly confidential letters. The Court observed that members expressing a view outside the Council Negri might very well take a different position in it when under the scrutiny of the public. This was of particular significance as out of the forty-two members of the Council Negri only twenty-one had indicated their not supporting the incumbent Chief Minister.

It could therefore be credibly argued that the Perak Constitution requires the tabling of a vote of confidence in the circumstances. The factors considered by the Federal Court have great significance to the scenario at hand, one as ambiguous as that which the Federal Court was faced with in 1966.

Much will now depend on what the incumbent Mentri Besar does. In Stephan Kalong Ningkam, the Chief Minister concerned took it to court and won. The Federal Court declared the Governor as having acted unconstitutionally and the dismissal of the Chief Minister invalid. Mohamad Nizar could attempt the same course.

It would be regrettable if the situation were forced to escalate to that level. Litigation of that nature, any nature for that matter, will be disruptive at all levels. With the Barisan Nasional moving in already though, it seems that there is little choice in the matter. Walking away is simply not an option that the constitution and the people and democracy will allow for.

In the meanwhile, we will have to buckle in for what has become a full-blown constitutional crisis.

(Malaysian Insider; 6th February 2009)

Coup d’etat in Perak February 6, 2009

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics.
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As of this morning, PR is still the legitimate government in Perak.

However since yesterday, in what was shocking to many, the State Secretary, without any legal basis, usurped power and barred PR from entering the state building. The Federal Police joined in to cordon the building. 

The Sultan has unfortunately chosen to act ultra-vires to the Perak Constitution. In any ordinary circumstance, HRH should have followed the letter of the law and either agree to dissolve the state assembly, or allow for a special session of the assembly.

HRH does not have the power to dismiss the Menteri Besar or the Executive Council. As a former Lord President, HRH surely would know the limits of his power. 

Even if BN has the numbers (and this is contestable), surely they would have some semblance of following what is clearly outlined in the Constitution? Or are they that uncertain themselves too once everyone is brought to the floor of the state assembly? Haste somehow has illegitimacy smeared all over this.

MB Nizar got this point loud and clear during his thunderous speech last night, that the new BN state government will be a Kerajaan ‘Haram‘.

At the very least, the Protocol section got this right. The invitation to the illegal swearing in of the ‘new’ Menteri Besar to one of the PR reads as below:-


Yep. YB Tai (below, right) is still recognised as one of the PR Executive Councillors at Lou Wong restaurant last night.


Perak Speaker files in court February 5, 2009

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics.
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3:00 pm

Sultan Azlan Shah asks MB Nizar to step down and hands over Perak to Najib and BN. 

11:55 am

Perak speaker V. Sivakumar has just left the High Court after applying to the court to declare the resignation letters of the three assembymen as valid and, therefore, their seats vacant. (The Star)

Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan leaders will meet in Ipoh at 3 pm to show their support to MB Nizar. The people will converge at the MB’s residence in the centre of town Ipoh Stadium by 7 pm.

Words of wisdom February 5, 2009

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Human Rights, Politics.
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Under normal circumstances, it is taken for granted that the Yang diPertuan Agong would not withhold his consent to a request for the dissolution of Parliament. His role is purely formal.

HRH Sultan Azlan Shah, Constitutional Monarchy, Rule of Law and Good Governance: Selected Essays and Speeches, Thomson Sweet & Maxwell Asia, 2004