Thursday, May 7, 2009
KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 — The Kuala Lumpur High Court will deliver its verdict next Monday to determine whether Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin or Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir is the rightful mentri besar of Perak.
Najib’s 1Malaysia shredded into smithereens - disgraceful police lockdown of Ipoh and scandalous spectacle of 2 Speakers, 2 Assemblies
The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia has been shredded into smithereens by the disgraceful police lockdown of Ipoh and the scandalous spectacle of two Speakers and two Assemblies – as if the constitutional scandal of two Mentris Besar is not bad enough for Perak and Malaysia!
It is unlikely that Najib will be able to live down the political baggage of having orchestrated the three-month Perak constitutional and political crisis and stalemate spawning two Mentris Besar, two Speakers, two Assemblies together with three renegade State Assembly members and a renegade State Assembly clerk unless he is prepared to act boldly to admit his colossal error and misjudgement and agree to the dissolution of the Perak State Assembly for the holding of Perak state-wide general election to return the mandate to Perakians.
For the sake of an unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab, Najib has brought important institutions of the country into greater disrepute, whether the police, the MACC, the judiciary and seriously impaired the vital doctrine of separation of powers.
Perakians, Malaysians and the world today witness another unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab – the office and powers of the Speaker when the Perak State Assembly has not officially met.
The mass arrests including Pakatan Rakyat MPs and State Assembly representatives in the police lockdown of Ipoh, turning the Perak capital into a war-zone, must be condemned in the strongest possible terms illustrating the ludicrous lengths of such a baseless police crackdown.
By Deborah Loh
Speaker Sivakumar while his mic is still switched on
Updated 12.37pm on 7 May 2009
IPOH, 7 May 2009: A historic state assembly sitting in Perak today fell into pandemonium in an ongoing tussle for power between the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and the Barisan Nasional (BN).
Security is tight around the state secretariat building where the state assembly is housed, and roads had been cordoned off since last night.
12.35pm Some PR elected reps have crossed over to BN side (on the left of the speaker's chair) heckling Ganesan to get out of the House Sivakumar from the speaker's chair also asks Ganesan to leave. Among the things said by PR ADUNs to Ganesan are, "Please lah, leave. Salvage MIC."
12.25pm Five PR elected reps heckling Ganesan, making issue of the fact that he is wearing a tag which states "Pegawai". Ganesan is the former Sungkai assemblyperson who was defeated by Nizar in the recent Bukit Gantang by-election. Shouts of "Out! Out!". There is pushing and shoving on the floor between the assemblypersons.
12.24pm Ganesan tries to take his "seat" as speaker at the state secretary's table in the middle of the floor. A few PR elected reps surround him and appear to be persuading him against doing so. Sivakumar is still in the speaker's chair.
12.20pm Sivakumar saying something, but his microphone is still off so he cannot be heard. The BN state assemblypersons are shouting "Out! Out!". Ten more minutes and House is supposed to reconvene.
12.15pm Umno lawyer Datuk Hafarizam Harun seen conferring with Zambry away from the floor of the chamber.
11.50am Zambry's lawyers in the ongoing MB vs MB court case arrive in the chamber. Among them are Datuk Shafee Abdullah.
11.25am The paper Sivakumar held up earlier was a letter by him dated yesterday, 6 May, stating his rejection of all the motions submitted to him, which are the motions to remove him, to elect a new speaker, and to change the membership of the three committees.
11.15am Sivakumar makes an announcement holding up a paper, but it is unclear what the document is. PR elected reps are re-energised. BN side proposes to adjourn the "sitting" for one hour. The House is "adjourned". BN reps go back to their seats and sit down. PR reps also take their seats and shout at BN to leave the House since they've adjourned it.
There is peace in the House finally, but both sides refuse to budge from their seats. Sivakumar still in speaker's chair.
Ganesan in speaker's robes
11.05am BN side is now attempting to have a debate. They are proceeding as if the House was normal. The ADUNs are still clustered around BN's Ganesan, who appears to be seated next to Hee on the left side (by convention, the opposition side) of the speaker's chair. Sivakumar is still in the speaker's chair. PR elected reps are shouting "Haram! Haram!" to drown out Ganesan's voice who is reading a motion. Shouting continues.
Ganesan has been given the speaker's robes.
He reads out a motion tabled by Sungai Rapat assemblyperson Hamidah Osman, which is voted by the BN and the three indenpendents friendly to the BN. The motion is to change the membership of the three house committees — standing orders, rights and privileges, and public accounts — to put their own BN people in.
PR elected reps mostly just standing around or seated. Less shouting from them. Sivakumar is still in the speaker's chair.
10.56am State assemblyperson from MIC Datuk R Ganesan is taking his oath of office as the Perak speaker after the motion was proposed by Zambry and seconded by Hee, and supported by all BN elected representatives and the three independents friendly to the BN. Shouts of protests by Pakatan Rakyat side.
10.40am Speaker V Sivakumar's microphone has been turned off. Deputy Speaker Hee Yit Foong, the DAP assemblyperson who quit the Pakatan Rakyat to become a BN-friendly elected representative, has declared that the majority of the House has voted Sivakumar out and he should leave. Hee now asks the Bentara to remove Sivakumar. Tee BN ADUNs are shouting "Tronoh turun! Tronoh turun!" Sivakumar is the Tronoh assemblyperson.
In other words, without Sivakumar convening the sitting, BN ADUNS have gone ahead to vote on the motion to remove him as speaker.
10.35am More shouting as BN elected reps cluster around Hee Yit Foong, the Jelapang ADUN who quit DAP who is also the deputy speaker.
10.28am Speaker V Sivakumar now says, "Saya belum dipecat. Yang dipecat itu Pangkor." Zambry is the assemblyperson for Pangkor.
"Saya minta Bentara untuk keluarkan 10 orang ini," says Sivakumar, referring to the 10 BN assemblypersons he has barred from entering the House. Bentara is the House's sargeant-at-arms.
Sivakumar continues: "Dalam Dewan, speaker bagi arahan. Kalau tak faham arahan, keluar saja." He adds:"Saya adalah speaker yang sah." Several state assemblypersons on both sides are recording the chaos with their mobile phones and camcorders. Someone announces: "The motion to remove the speaker has been passed by 31 assemblypersons", at which point all the BN reps and the three independents raise their hands and cheer.
10.20am BN's appointed Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir reads out a motion to remove Speaker V Sivakumar and all the BN state assemblypersons raise their hands to vote in support. But Sivakumar maintains he will not convene the sitting until the 10 BN assemblypersons, including Zambry, leave the House. Sivakumar says he rejects the motion because Zambry has been suspended. Sivakumar repeats, "My decision is final. As long as the 10 suspended assemblypersons do not leave the house, I will not convene this sitting." He shouts the same thing over and over again: "The person who brought this motion has been suspended. Ia usul yang tak sah."
10.13am Pandemonium in the Perak assembly chambers. Lots of inaudible shouting. PR state assemblypersons are thumping the tables. BN assemblypersons staying put. Raja Nazrin Shah has yet to give his address to open the sitting. He is not in the House at this juncture
Chaos in state assembly sitting
10.05am Raja Nazrin Shah, who was to open the state assembly sitting, is not in the House yet. Speaker V Sivakumar repeats his announcement that he will not start proceedings until the 10 assemblypersons, including BN's appointed Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir, have left the House. His decision is final, he says. Sivakumar adds that the 3 March sitting under the tree had approved their suspensions. Shouting resumes in the House.
10.03am Perak Speaker V Sivakumar announces that BN's appointed Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir and the six suspended executive councillors from the BN are not allowed into the House. The three independents "friendly to the BN" are also not allowed in. Sivakumar says he won't start the sitting until all of these assemblypersons leave. Shouting in the House.
9.50am Media queue up to get into the state assembly chambers. A metal detector screens the journalists, the first time ever in the history of the Perak state assembly.
Raja Nazrin inspecting the guard
9.33am The Raja Muda of Perak Raja Nazrin Shah has arrived at the state secretariat building to open the state assembly. He inspects the guard.
9.27am BN's appointed Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir arrives. He shakes hands with Speaker V Sivakumar.
Jenice Lee, assemblyerson for Teratai, handcuffed9.27am The Edge reports that Speaker V Sivakumar arrived at 9.18am. Earlier DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, and Ipoh Barat Member of Parliament M Kulasegaran were turned away from approaching the Perak state secretariat building.
After a heated exchange with Ipoh Police Chief ACP Azisman Alias, and following the arrest of Kulasegaran's aide, the duo are turned away. See more here.
9.00am The arrested, who are inside a police truck, shout, "1BLACKMalaysia!" as the truck is being driven away.
8.55am Police have arrested a total of 11 people. Arrests were also made at the Perak DAP headquarters which is about 100m away in a shop lot from the state assembly building, above a coffee shop. Among those arrested is Jenice Lee, the assemblyperson for Teratai. From inside the police truck, she said, "I was just sitting down in the cofee shop when they handcuffed me."
Zuraida Kamaruddin being led away
8.35am Zuraida Kamaruddin, a fourth person, dressed all in black, has been arrested outside the gate of the state secretariat building. She is Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Member of Parliament for Ampang and the Wanita PKR chief. She struggled with the woman police officer, shouting, "Why should you push me. I know how to walk myself."
8.25am PR state assemblypersons have started arriving at the state secretariat building. Among them are embattled Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, Datuk Ngeh Khoo Ham, A Sivanesan and Chang Lih Kang.
One of three men in black tshirts arrested
8.20am Three men in black t-shirts outside the gate of the state secretariat building have been taken in by police. One of the t-shirts had emblazoned on it, "Kembalikan hak rakyat". One of the men said he was from Taiping. The three were holding pictures of the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah.
7.40am Traffic gridlock on roads leading to the state assembly in Bangunan Perak Darul Ridzuan due to police blocks, and diversions. No demonstrators are in sight yet.
Police screening people entering Bangunan Perak
Darul Ridzuan8.15am Police screening media and state secretariat staff entering the Bangunan Perak Darul Ridzuan where the state assembly is housed. Only those with passes from the state secretariat are allowed in.
It’s been a long and hard morning in Ipoh.
If there’s one thing I hate, it’s yelling and screaming cops trying to imitate a stampeding horde.
Once again, the rakyat are at the receiving end of completely unnecesssary police brutality. Many friends were taken in by the cops today, their fate as of yet unknown.
Over the course of the morning, I had a lot of time to wait and think. Hopefully, I’ll later have more time and space to recount experiences and expand on thoughts.
Imagine, a hall of people’s representatives needed to be cordoned from those same people by barbed wire. What a day.
I feel less like I’m in Ipoh, and more like I’m in some sort of twilight zone where good sense is suspended and only horror prevails.
They haven’t beaten us down though. The rakyat will rise one day, I have no doubt.
Time to review the news. More to come.
KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 (Bernama) -- Acknowledging the importance for any government to have the trust and confidence of the people, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that one of the best ways to win the trust and confidence of the people is to be truthful to them.
"Tell them the truth. If you've done well, tell them the policies are right. If the policies are not working, then you should have the courage to tell them that look, we've made mistakes but we intend to do better, we intend to correct these mistakes. And I think the rakyat would appreciate that.
"Although you are in the government, you are only human, and humans do make mistakes. The key is not that you will make mistakes, but how you recover from your mistakes. Hopefully mistakes will be few, but most of the decisions will be correct and the decisions will be spot-on.
"But there will be times when, because of changing circumstances, you suddenly realise that your policies or your decisions are not quite correct. But once you realise that they're not quite correct, be honest about it and tell people," the prime minister said in his latest jottings, uploaded yesterday, in his blog at www.1Malaysia.com.my
He said the people were intelligent and would appreciate honesty and truthfulness and the leaders should trust them.
"Over a period, certainly you will be able to develop that faith and trust with the people. Above all, keep your word. If you promise, you must deliver. One of the things that can undermine this faith and loyalty is if you break your promise. If you promise something, you must stick to your promise and you must deliver your promise," he said.
Najib said that over the past month, since taking over the helm of the nation, he had introduced, through his blog, a set of values, which he believed were fundamental in shaping formidable Malaysians befitting the 1Malaysia vision.
He said integrity completed this set of eight values, and was a key tool in ensuring that promises were kept and principles upheld.
"Once we are able to deliver what is promised and be more transparent and open with others, we will have built a solid foundation for trust," he said.
The eight values of 1Malaysia introduced by Najib were a culture of excellence, perseverance, humility, acceptance, loyalty, meritocracy, education, and integrity, which he said were paramount in efforts to add value to Malaysia as a developing nation.
"No one single value can be imbued without the other in order for 1Malaysia to truly take shape. While these values have long been taught in our culture, the application of these values must be renewed.
"I urge all Malaysians to inculcate and cultivate these values in our daily practices and actions not just amongst close friends and family, but in the workplace and our community at large," he added.
By Adib Zalkapli and Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani- The Malaysian Insider
IPOH, May 7 — The Perak state assembly sitting has descended into chaos, with shouting matches and Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmakers refusing to obey orders from Speaker V. Sivakumar to leave the hall.
Deputy Speaker Hee Yit Foong is now trying to take over the assembly by holding the assembly in one corner as Sivakumar’s microphone is turned off.
In turn, BN Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir has repeatedly tried to table a motion to remove the speaker, which Sivakumar has rejected repeatedly as well.
Sivakumar is refusing to convene sitting of the assembly until Zambry and six other BN lawmakers whom he had suspended leave the hall.
With the streets outside turned into what the DAP’s Lim Kit Siang has called a “war zone,” the Perak state assembly convened earlier with Sivakumar asking Zambry and six other lawmakers to leave the hall, turning the assembly into a scene of chaos amid shouting and screaming.
Earlier, all other assemblymen arrived, with Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers seated at the government benches.
Outside, more than 20 people, including at least six lawmakers, were arrested and scores others refused entry into the Perak State Secretariat as police locked down Ipoh city ahead of the controversial state assembly meeting.
Traffic was gridlocked as police rolled out barbed wire and mounted road blocks in a 500-metre radius from the building, allowing in only those with special passes and preventing hundreds of protesters clad in black T-shirts from the sitting to be opened by Raja Muda Raja Nazrin Shah.
"This has become a war zone. This is a national and international disgrace. Even when we have received official invites from the speaker, we are refused entry," Lim told reporters outside the restricted zone after his car was stopped from entry.
"It is most shameful and outrageous," the Ipoh Timur MP added. Beside him was Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran who was also not allowed into the complex. Kula's political secretary P. Sugumaran was earlier detained by police for refusing to leave the place.
PKR Wanita chief and Ampang MP Zuraida Kamarudin and DAP's Teratai (Selangor) assemblywoman Jenice Lee, Ayer Keroh's Khoo Poay Tiong (Malacca) and Bahau's Tey Kok Seong (Negri Sembilan) were also among those arrested. They were clad in black T-shirts and wore caps that said “Bubarkan DUN” or “Dissolve the State Assembly”, a key demand by the Pakatan Rakyat government toppled by Barisan Nasional in early February.
The electoral reform group Bersih, comprising opposition parties and some activists, urged Malaysians to wear back today, prompting police to arrest its spokesman Wong Chin Huat two days ago for sedition. The media studies lecturer is expected to be released from police remand tomorrow.
It is learnt that police have seized 200 black T-shirts emblazoned with the words “1BlackMalaysia” from a stall near a Kampung Manjoi surau where PAS supporters had earlier performed subuh or dawn prayers. Police had earlier warned against people gathering or wearing black.
They also shut down the roads around the state secretariat, causing traffic congestion in this normally sleepy capital city. Police said the roads will be reopened later in the day.
Ousted Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and his executive council together with backbenchers, equalling the Barisan Nasional numbers at 28, were taken with police escort to attend the sitting in the 59-seat assembly.
Three other lawmakers are independent after they walked out of Pakatan and precipated the imbroglio.
Sivakumar arrives at the state secretariat at 9.35am and gets a salute from the honour guard as he is escorted by assembly secretary Abdullah Antong Sabri.
He is followed by Zambry who also receives a salute as Sivakumar and Abdullah escort him.
Raja Nazrin Shah arrives at 9.45am and inspects the honour guard. Secretariat officials then allow lawmakers, special guests and journalists into the assembly hall.
Police yesterday set up roadblocks at the Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab-Jalan St John junction and near the Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman flyover.
They had obtained a court order to prevent illegal gatherings around the state secretariat and traffic police were on hand to divert traffic around the government sector in Ipoh.
10.35am: Perak assembly still at a stand-off. Sivakumar keeps repeating that BN MB Zambry’s motion to sack him as speaker is “null and void” and orders the sergeant-at-arms to expel the 10 state assemblypersons. However, the sergeant-at-arms refuse to abide to the speaker’s instruction.
A group of state reps from both sides surround Zambry as the shouting match continues. Assembly state secretary Abdullah Antung tries to talk to the speaker, but he is ignored by Sivakumar.
Zambry maintains that the speaker has now been sacked as BN controls the majority in the assembly.
10.25am: Contrary to the chaos inside the assembly, the situation outside the state secretariat is much calmer with the police successfully dispersing the crowd.
The police have widened the no-go cordon, as a result the coffees shops are deserted.
Earlier the police ordered all those having drinks in the restaurants to leave immediately. Many left without paying for their drinks. Two refused to budge and were arrested.
10.20am: The impasse between speaker V Sivakumar and BN state reps continues. The speaker refuses to begin proceedings unless the seven suspended reps and three BN-friendly independents leave the hall.
Assembly secretary Abdullah Antung tries to take his seat in front of the speaker. But about 10 Pakatan reps walk up to him and physically stop him from doing so. They instruct Antung not to interfere with assembly business as he is a civil servant.
Both sides then engage in a free-for-all shouting match. Pakatan reps are also seen trying to prevent BN MB Zambry from speaking.
Zambry moves motion to sack the speaker. According to Zambry, the speaker has abused his powers. All BN reps raise their hands in support of Zambry. The motion was seconded by Hamidah Osman.
But speaker Sivakumar however is unmoved. He rejects the motion and says his decision to expel the 10 state reps is final. The assembly plunges into chaos.
Meanwhile, Raja Nazrin, who is to give his royal address and officially open the assembly, waits in a VIP room.
10.19am: Two more politicians have been arrested by the police for breaching the injunction against gathering at the state secretariat - Sungai Siput MP Dr D Jeyakumar (PSM) and Parit Buntar Mujahid Yusof Rawa (PAS).
Also arrested was Malaysiakini columnist and activist Helen Ang.
10.05am: The speaker said his suspension of Zambry and his six exco members was made in his capacity as the chairperson of the privileges and the special rights committee and not as the speaker.
He said the Federal Court decision was based on his standing as a speaker and as such the matter was inapplicable.
He also asked the three BN-friendly independents to leave the assembly as his legal suit against the three was still pending in court.
His order for the 10 to leave the assembly was greeted by cheers and table-clapping by the Pakatan representatives. They shouted ‘keluar' (out) repeatedly.
However the 10 elected representatives are still in the house. A shouting match between the two sides is presently underway.
Nizar is seated in the right side of the speaker - the place allocated for the ruling party while Zambry is on the left.
9.55am: The action has now moved inside the state assembly. House speaker V Sivakumar, after immediately taking his seat, asks the seven suspended BN state reps including BN appointed MB Zambry to leave the hall.
He says he won’t begin the assembly sitting until they are out of the hall. According to Sivakumar, he has the power to do so. Pakatan state reps thump their table in support.
9.45am: PAS Youth chief and MP for Kubang Kerian Salahuddin Ayub is arrested near the 'democracy tree' behind the state secretariat building.
9.40am: Pakatan supporters, estimated at around 200, are scattered in various places near the state assembly building. There is no crowd at the gate of the building. The compound is barricaded by about 200 police.
9.30am: Perak crown prince Raja Nazrin Shah arrives. He inspects the guards of honour. Unlike the cold reception given to BN MB Zambry, all Pakatan state reps rise to their feet to welcome Raja Nazrin.
He was greeted by Zambry, assembly speaker Sivakumar and deputy speaker Hee Yit Foong (who defected from DAP to become a BN-friendly Independent rep).
9.25am: BN Menteri Besar Zambry Abd Kadir arrives to inspect the guard of honour. He shakes hand with assembly speaker V Sivakumar. Only BN state reps stand up to welcome Zambry. Pakatan state reps however snub him by remaining seated.
9.23am: All 59 state reps seated outside the state secretariat building where the opening ceremony will be held. They are waiting for the arrival of Perak crown prince Raja Nazrin Shah.
BN appointed state cabinet members could be seen wearing ‘exco’ (executive councillor) tags while Pakatan reps, including ousted MB Nizar, were wearing ‘Adun’ (state representative) tags.
9.15am: The police have moved in to arrest people gathered at the restaurant, including people having their breakfast. Many people have been arrested. Exact number of those arrested is uncertain.
The police first allowed those having their breakfast to do so but then soon changed their mind and started arresting them as well.
One man who was having tea lashed out at the police for their actions. He was allowed to have his tea and then was arrested.
The restaurant has decided to close its shutters for the day.
9.11am: The police are issuing warning to people who have gathered near the state secretariat, asking them to disperse by reminding them of the ban against gathering.
People having breakfast in a nearby restaurant are also being told to get away. Fresh arrests are expected.
9.09am: The crowd which had gathered at the Umno headquarters has started to disperse. Umno Youth exco member Lokman Adam told reporters that their members were now free to do their own work.
"We gathered to show support this morning and now that the assembly is about to start, we have decided to disperse.
"We are not like the Pakatan crowd who want to protest at the state secretariat despite a police ban," he said.
9.01am: The 11 people who have been arrested are herded into a police lorry inside the state secretary compound. They include one MP and three state assemblypersons - Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin (PKR-Selangor), Ayer Keroh state rep Khoo Poay Tiong (DAP-Malacca), Teratai state rep Jenice Lee (DAP-Selangor) and Bahau state rep Tey Kok Seong (DAP-Negri Sembilan).
The police lorry leaves the compound with those inside shouting “1BlackMalaysia”, “Dissolve the assembly” and “Reformasi”.
9am: All elected representatives are getting ready for the official ceremony to start. The regent is expected to arrive at any time.
8.59am: DAP's Ipoh Timor member of parliament Lim Kit Siang, under whose area the state secretariat is located, is turned away from the building.
Also with Lim are DAP's MPs for Ipoh Barat M Kulasegaran and Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran. The three MPs had official invitations to attend the sitting from assembly speaker.
In an ensuing shouting match with the police, Kulasegaran's aide was arrested.
8.50am: More arrests by the police. This time four people, including a Pakatan elected representative from Negeri Sembilan and Teratai state representative Jenice Lee (centre in photo), were arrested while having breakfast in a mamak stall.
8.47am: Batu MP Tian Chua, who has donned a black suit, arrived at the state secretariat compound. He was in Tai Sing Ng (Perak’s Kuala Sepetang rep) car. While Tai was allowed into the building, Chua was told to stay outside the ‘500m exclusion zone’. Chua left the area in another car.
So far, eight have been arrested, including Ampang MP Zuraida (PKR-Selangor), Ayer Keroh state rep Khoo (DAP-Malacca) and her aide.
8.45am: Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin, who wanted to give a press conference outside the state secretariat building, was arrested by the police. She resisted, resulting in a slight scuffle. Police officers forcibly subdued her and put handcuffs on the parliamentarian.
“Why do you handcuff me?” she shouted at the police. The Ayer Keroh state rep Khoo Poay Tiong from Malacca, who was arrested minutes earlier, was also handcuffed.
8.44am: A group of Umno/BN supporters numbering about 100 have started to gather at the Umno headquarters since morning. A spokesperson said they will be at the building until the official opening of the state assembly sitting. The crowd is carrying banners and placards. Some police officers are on standby.
8.37am: The police have totally cordoned off the road behind the state secretariat with barbed wires. A copy of an injunction obtained yesterday to bar people from gathering has been pasted on the ‘democracy tree'.
8.35am: Ousted menteri besar Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin and Pakatan reps enter the state secretariat building. All their bodyguards are stopped at the gate. Only their drivers can go through the entrance.
8.30am: All Barisan Nasional elected representatives arrived at the state secretariat in one bus. Their arrival is greeted by a small group of demonstrators wearing black. The demonstrators are located outside the state secretariat.
The police have moved in to stop the demonstration by arresting three people. Among those arrested are DAP's Ayer Keroh elected representative Khoo Poay Tiong.
8.15am: Security is tight at the Perak state secretariat building in Ipoh, where the controversial legislative assembly meeting is to be held. About 100 police and FRU personnel have been deployed in the area. Five FRU (riot police) trucks are at the back entrance of the building complex.
The assembly hall will be opened at 9am. There will be a guard of honour by crown prince Raja Nazrin Shah, who is expected to represent the Perak sultan. Journalists will be allowed into the hall at 9.45am.
The assembly will officially be opened by Raja Nazrin, who will give his address to the 59 assemblypersons.
8:05am: The 28 Pakatan Rakyat state assemblypersons leave for the Perak state secretariat building in a convoy from the Grand View Hotel in Ipoh. They were accompanied by assembly speaker V Sivakumar and police escorts complete with outriders. The hotel is about 600m from the state secretariat building.
Earlier this morning, the state representatives had breakfast together at a mamak stall near the hotel. There are about 50 Pakatan supporters milling around the area - all wearing black. They are being watched by an equal number of police.
It is believed that he was arrested over his plan to hold mass prayers tomorrow in Manjoi, Ipoh, over the Perak state assembly sitting.
The Masjid Al-Ittihadiyah, where the prayer session will be held at 5am, is about two kilometres from the assembly building.
The prayer session is expected to draw a large number to oppose the Barisan Nasional's power grab in the state.
Mohamad was arrested by about 10 plainclothes policemen just as he was leaving a restaurant to go to the Harakah office.
PAS Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub was with him when he was arrested.
Salahuddin told Malaysiakini that he heard Mohamad shouting that he was being arrested just as he left the restaurant.
He and another PAS member immediately rushed back to try and free him. A scuffle took place.
Salahuddin also said the police did not show any arrest warrant when they nabbed Mohamad. It is learnt that he has been taken to the Sentul police station.
"They also did not identify themselves. They just arrested him and took him away," he said.
He said he has informed PAS lawyer Hanipa Maidin about this.
Salahuddin also did not rule out the possibility that the police action could be an attempt to stop Mohamad's prayer session.
To be sent to Perak on remand
Mohamad's arrest comes just 24 hours after the arrest of activist Wong Chin Huat last night for urging the public to wear black tomorrow to protest against what is happening in Perak.
Wong, arrested last night for alleged sedition at his house in Taman Seri Sentosa, Kuala Lumpur, was taken to court today where a one-day remand order was issued.
Mohamad's wife Normah Alwi told Malaysiakini that a police officer informed her this afternoon that her husband will be sent to Slim River in Perak on remand.
"The event has not even taken place yet, why the arrest?" asked an outraged Normah.
It is believed that a police report was lodged against Mohamad in Slim River.
Supporter to meet tonight
Perak police chief Zulkifli Abdullah later told reporters in Ipoh that Mohamad was arrested for inciting the crowd to gather at the state assembly building tomorrow.
"We are still investigating the matter and if it is needed, we will try to obtain a remand order later," he said.
The police earlier today obtained a court order to bar people from gathering at the state secretariat tomorrow.
Meanwhile a gathering to support Mohamad is expected to take place at Dataran Merdaka in Kuala Lumpur at 8pm.
MAY 6 - Dear Prime Minister, I draw your attention to and express my grave concern on reading media reports on the arrest of Wong Chin Huat, the spokesman for polls reform group Bersih, last night at his home for investigations under S.4(1) of the Sedition Act.
It was also reported that, upon arrest, he was taken away to an undisclosed location after midnight and his whereabouts kept secret. It was further reported that he was to be produced in court either to be charged or for a remand order today.
If these reports are correct they must be a source of concern to you and all Malaysians. The continued use of the draconian Sedition Act is bad enough. But the manner in which Wong was arrested and taken to an undisclosed location in the middle of the night is akin to what we have seen in repressive States where there is no rule of law.
Is Malaysia moving towards such a police state? Arrest and detention prior to investigations for an offence under S.4(1) of the Sedition Act is most unwarranted and most unbecoming.
These events go counter to the promises you made publicly soon after you were appointed Prime Minister on April 3, 2009. You called for the removal of the temporary ban on two newspapers, the release of 13 ISA detainees and the review of the ISA itself.
You went on and said “These decisions are timely as we move to enhance the confidence of our citizens in those entrusted with maintaining peace, law and order, while recognising the need to remain vigilant of the very real security threats we continue to face as a young nation”.
Far from enhancing the confidence of Malaysians in the police, their conduct in the arrest and detention of Wong further erodes public confidence in the enforcement agencies in Malaysia. How could Wong’s call on behalf of Bersih to the public to wear black tomorrow as a mark of protest over developments in Perak be seen as a threat to public security?
Please do not confuse threats to security of State with security of the government in power.
I urge you not to follow the path of Dr (now Tun) Mahathir Mohamad who made similar promises when he took office as Prime Minister in 1982 and later systematically turned the nation to a repressive State where, till today, the rule of law is seen on the balance.
Please remember that rule of law is not synonymous with rule by law.
* Dato' Param Cumaraswamy is the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges & Lawyers.
By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
KUALA LUMPUR, May 6 — The police have arrested PAS vice-president Mohamad Sabu, PKR Youth leader Badrul Hisham and another unidentified activist just a day before the Perak state assembly convenes amid accusations of a crackdown on dissent.
Mohamad, known popularly as Mat Sabu, was arrested at 3.45pm near party publication Harakah's office here today while Badrul and the unidentified activist were detained at 2pm in Putrajaya.
Their arrests come just a day after another activist, Wong Chin Huat, was detained yesterday for sedition because he called for Malaysians to wear black tomorrow in protest against the Barisan Nasional (BN) power grab in Perak.
The Malysian Insider understands that Mohamad Sabu was also arrested under the Sedition Act and has been taken to Bukit Aman police headquarters.
It is learnt that Badrul and the unidentified activist may also have been arrested under the Sedition Act.
Today’s arrests suggest the authorities have been spooked by reports that federal opposition parties were planning a mass protest against what has been an unpopular takeover of the Perak government by the ruling BN coalition.
The takeover in Perak, which was orchestrated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, has even been described as hasty and improper by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, an ally of Najib.
Najib’s promise of reforms have been marred by the crackdown which come on top of three other arrests today of opposition supporters after they tried to deliver a cake to his office to mark the birthday of Altantuya Shaariibuu, whose death has been repeatedly linked to the prime minister.
Two policemen who were part of Najib’s security detail were convicted and sentenced to hang for the murder last month, although there is no evidence that Najib was involved in the murder.
Besides the Altantuya murder, the Perak constitutional crisis continues to be a major distraction for the Najib administration.
The latest arrests today is believed to be linked to plans to organise a mass prayer session in Ipoh tomorrow as BN hopes to legitimise its administration in the state assembly.
Mohamad was arrested at 3.45 pm near the office of the party publication Harakah here today while Badrul and the unidentified activist were detained at 2 pm in Putrajaya.
It is learnt that a group of police officers came in three cars and approached Mohamad just as he was walking out of a restaurant near Jalan Pahang where he was having drinks with other PAS members.
Also present at the time of Mohamad’s arrest was PAS youth chief Salahuddin Ayub who claimed the police had not shown any warrant when making the arrest.
“The arrest was made in a rough and uncivilized manner. I and a few others had tried to help Mohamad but were stopped by the large number of police officers present,” he said.
It is believed that the arrest was made in relation to the PAS planned gathering in Ipoh early tomorrow morning. The PAS vice president is the main person behind the gathering.
Although the gathering is slated to be a peaceful one, a confrontation between PAS supporters and the police is likely to happen as the rising political tension in Perak could prompt a stern response from the authorities.
Wong, who had urged the public to wear black tomorrow to “mourn” the takeover, is also believed to have been arrested in relation to the rising tension in Perak.
Many opposition leaders condemned Wong’s arrest as the beginning of a government crackdown on dissent, with veteran DAP leader Lim Kit Siang asking if Najib would have even arrested Mahatma Gandhi for sedition.
Meanwhile, Badrul and the unidentified activist were arrested in relation to this morning’s event, in which opposition members tried to deliver a cake to Najib.
Initially, the police arrested three members from the Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia group, a group linked to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and led by Badrul.
The three were then brought to the Putrajaya police headquarters where they are currently being detained.
Badrul and his friend, who later came over to the police station to check on his group members, were then arrested upon arrival. - The Malaysian Insider
PUTRAJAYA, May 6 -Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad could not resist a dig at Tun Abdullah Badawi today when asked to comment on the latter's appointment as Malaysia Airlines advisor.
Asked about Abdullah’s appointment, Dr Mahathir poured on the sarcasm with: “I suppose until I vacate this place he must be put somewhere.”
“I actually also asked to be made advisor to MAS but I didn’t get it, maybe it’s because I am not too qualified,” he quipped.
The Najib administration had earlier this week manoeuvred around a potentially delicate situation by making Abdullah, popularly called Pak Lah, the advisor to MAS and keeping Dr Mahathir as Petronas advisor.
This was despite a decades-old tradition for a recently retired prime minister to be given the prestigious position of advisor to the national oil company which began with the late Tun Hussein Onn, Malaysia’s third prime minister who retired in 1981.
Asked whether Abdullah will be able to effect changes in MAS, Dr Mahathir replied: “He was able to be prime minister.”
“People chose him to be prime minister ... you get what you deserve,” he added, glibly ignoring the fact that Abdullah was his handpicked successor.
Dr Mahathir has been harshly critical ever since Abdullah cancelled several of his projects, including the proposed crooked bridge to Singapore.
Despite Abdullah’s retirement on April 3, the country’s longest-serving prime minister has not let up in his potshots at his nemesis, whom he has also held personally responsible for Barisan Nasional's worst ever electoral performance in last year's general elections.
1. I had been resisting the idea of writing about RPK latest revelation in his blog, MT. This time he specifically mentioned the name of a military SB investigation officer, Kol Azmi and Jamaluddin Jarjis as well as Tengku Razaleigh in his writing. The temptation of not writing is too great for me to ignore.
2. My fear of being pick up by the authorities has also forced me to ignore the matter initially. When a fellow blogger who has been pushing the agenda that everyone wear black on May 7, 2009 was pick up recently, I start to develop unconscious fear.
3. I was equally worried as I too had published in my blog that my blog image section will remain a black screen until democracy is fully restored in Perak. It has been 3 months since I put it up. Somehow, some people are scared of the colour black and action is being taken. Apparently, anyone wearing black tomorrow will be pick up. Online news reported that 3 people have been picked up by the police so far and I guess the lawyers will have tough time to go to work tomorrow as they only wear black clothes. In my case I have 3 pair of shoes and they are all black color.
4. My heart says I should write. My brain says otherwise. I am about to collapse under the fear factor that has been inflicted upon me by those in power. I am probably at the fringe of the pressure circle and yet I could feel it. I cannot imagine what those people like RPK and many others who are in the epicentre of pressure are actually feeling. No wonder RPK has absconded.
5. Coming back to RPK latest publication, I did some digging on my own. Firstly the name that RPK mention Lt. Kol Azmi actually existed in the Special Investigation Branch (SIB) of the Military Intelligence. Maybe when RPK met him, he was a Lt. Kol but today he is a full Kol i.e. Kol Azmi Zainal Abidin and he is the head of the SIB.
6. His enemies say that he is an apple polisher and he is very close with the current Director of Military Intelligence (DMI) as both were school mates. I would not know whether that is the truth as having been in the service there are plenty of jealous people around who always has something bad to say to those who climb the career ladder too quickly. What is important is that the character mentioned by RPK does exist and RPK had accurately described his post as well.
7. Tengku Razaleigh has not said anything so far. In fact he has not updated his blog for a long time. I missed his writing. However in the online media today, it is reported that Jamaluddin Jarjis will be given a minister post but assigned to the USA. What a coincidence? It smells as stink as a rotten fish. RPK mentioned that there was an attempt to buy him out via JJ. Could it be that PI Bala who had disappeared was also bought?
8. In the case of JJ it appears that he will also disappear from the Malaysian political radar. This is a sacrifice that certainly must be compensated adequately. Anyway this is the first time I heared that a Malaysian was posted overseas as a Minister. I was only born yesterday. I would not know. Maybe it has been practice before.
9. What I don’t get it is why RPK has not recorded his conversation with JJ when he met in the car. A simple RM100, MP3 set would have done the job. If he had done that and published it in then YouTube; then his story would be more credible. Hold on, I am making an assumption here. Maybe there was a recording and who knows it might just surface soon. As for Perak I am reserving my comments until tomorrow. I have said enough. Today, Tun Mahathir also agrees that BN had made the wrong move in Perak.
He was accused and cleared of sexual harassment as well as criticised for comments made about Malaysian Indians while on a trip to the United States a couple of years ago.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
JJ to be ambassador to US
(The Malaysian Insider) — A former minister is set to be appointed Malaysia’s ambassador to the United States, a move which indicates that the Najib administration is looking to upgrade its relations with the Obama administration.
The appointment, which is being vetted by the US State Department, could also raise questions about Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s appetite to keep controversial individuals away from his administration.
Government sources told The Malaysian Insider that Datuk Seri Jamaludin Jarjis will enjoy the status of a minister in his new appointment.
A close friend of the PM, he was passed over for a Cabinet position because of concerns that he was carrying too much baggage.
He was accused and cleared of sexual harassment as well as criticised for comments made about Malaysian Indians while on a trip to the United States a couple of years ago. But all along there has been speculation that the MP for Rompin and former Science, Technology and Innovation Minister would be rewarded with a senior position in a government-linked company or as a special envoy of the government.
The reason being put forward for his nomination to be ambassador is that he has a "good network" in the US.
A former Second Finance Minister and Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, he is best known for the country’s Angkasawan programme, a project which brought pride to the country but also raised questions on the wisdom of spending millions of ringgit on a project with no tangible benefits to the public.
Boss, Malaysia is sending us a new Ambassador.
Great. The last Ambassador, whatever his name is, was a great embarrassment. Imagine trying to bribe one of our citizens to make false allegations that he procured boys and girls for their Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim. Disgraceful!
Well, this one also tried bribing someone on behalf of his Deputy Prime Minister, who is now of course the Prime Minister.
You mean also to allege that he procured boys and girls for the Deputy Prime Minister?
No, this case is the other way around. They tried to bribe the guy to stop the allegations.
Sheesh, what’s wrong with that country? So, instead of sending him to jail, they send him here. They think this is Australia or what? We are not a convict colony you know.
The Malaysian press says he is being promoted because he is close to Najib. Actually, he is being exiled because Rosmah hates his guts.
I thought this guy is a ladies’ man. How come he can’t handle Rosmah?
It was actually because of a mistake he made. He told a joke about Rosmah and someone told her about it.
What was the joke?
Well, it goes like this: Recently, they held a competition to create a new slogan for Najib’s regime. The third prize was a trip to the US. The second prize was a cake. When the second-prize winner was called up to receive his prize he screamed, “The third prize winner gets a trip to the US and all I get is a bloody cake?” The soon-to-be Malaysian Ambassador replied, “But this is not just any cake. This cake was baked by Rosmah herself.” The second-prize winner then shouted, “Screw Rosmah,” and our wise guy replied, “Ah, but that is the first prize.”
Hahahahaha, that’s rich. Good joke.
Rosmah didn’t think so. So she is giving our man the third prize by sending him to the US.
Hahahahaha……..third prize….…trip to the US as the new Ambassador…….hahahahaha. How do you come up with these things? Okay, what is this new Ambassador famous for? We have got to prepare the media before he comes here.
You mean other than the bottom-pinching episode?
The media doesn’t care about that. I mean; the oval room of the White House has practically been turned into the oral room. You think they care about bottom pinching?
Okay, he sent a monkey into outer space.
What’s so great about that? We stopped sending monkeys into space a long time ago. We are now sending people.
No, I don’t mean a monkey, monkey. I mean this guy they sent into space was called a spaceman but was actually only hitching a ride. And they paid a hell of a lot of money for that ride. I was told the Russians were joking, behind his back of course, that he was a space monkey.
Still nothing great! We also take on passengers who are prepared to pay big bucks for the ride.
But he was the first Muslim, I think. That’s why they had to spend another few million just to organise a religious seminar to discuss how he prays in space.
You mean the flight was that bad he had to pray? I only pray when we fly into a storm.
No, it’s not that. You see, Muslims pray five times a day. They follow the times according to the sun. So they had to figure out how he does that.
And you need a multi-million dollar seminar for that?
Well, how do you do that in space when you are flying around the world maybe 100 or 200 times in 24 hours? Your five-times a day prayers will end up as 100 or 200 times a day.
Why did they have to pick a praying man to send into space? Would it not have been easier if they choose someone who does not pray?
Actually those who pray in Malaysia are not that many. But they need to do this sort of thing to give an impression that everyone prays. It’s sort of the Islamic thing to do.
I just can’t believe these people. So they sorted that out then. How many times did this guy have to pray? Five times a day or 200 times a day?
We don’t know. They never told us. But I don’t think he prayed after all. But there was an even more serious problem. There was one woman in that team of astronauts and the religious people were perturbed that a man squeezed in a small capsule with a woman would be considered close proximity and therefore a crime in Islam.
Oh boy, it gets even more interesting I see. So what did they do? Insist that the woman be dropped from the team?
No, they decided to select someone who sort of does not get too excited about women, if you know what I mean.
Hahahahaha, this Malaysia is really something. And the man behind all this is going to be their next Ambassador to our country?
Unfortunately so, Boss.
Woh! I can see interesting times ahead of us. Let me know when he arrives. I just can’t wait to meet him. Astronaut who prays 100 times a day but can’t get a hard-on when rubbing against women. Hahahahaha……what a country. You want to be our next Ambassador to Malaysia?
No way, Boss. I rather suffer root canal work.
The above dialogue never took place, and as Umno would say, is just a figment of the writer’s imagination.
So many have called and sms’d asking the same thing of me : do not make the trip to Ipoh tomorrow lest I face arrest.
One, having called and alerted me to the further arrests today and, yet, having failed to persuade me not to go, called later and offered to drive me up to Ipoh, fearing that my vehicle might be recognised.
Let me first say a big ‘Thank you’ to each of you. You are all truly beautiful people.
Let me also say that I will go up to Ipoh.
Firstly,what have I done to warrant arrest?
Love my country and my people enough to try and do the little that I can to make this a better place?
If this, in Najib’s books, warrants arrest, let him have everyone on the streets in Ipoh tomorrow, dressed in black, me included, arrested. That will be just one more nail in his political coffin.
Secondly and, in my view, more importantly, if I aborted the trip to Ipoh tomorrow because of the fear of a seeming prospect of arrest, would I not have succumbed to the same fear that I have for so long been urging so many to not allow to get in the way of their doing the right thing.
And what is that right thing?
Taking back our country from evil politicians.
Do I fear arrest?
Honestly, I do, as do my family and friends.
However, should I allow the fear of being wronged to get in the way of doing what I believe to be right?
No, I must not.
I, too, must walk my talk.
See you in Ipoh tomorrow.
And again, thanks for caring.
You have given me the strength to do what I believe to be right.
Update 11.10pm : Teo Nie Ching, Serdang MP was released.
Update : Arrested count is now 14
Update : 11 arrested by police.
8 people including Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching was arrested while holding a vigil in support of Wong Chin Huat infront of Brickfields police station.
Appeal to Perak Sultan to dissolve Perak State Assembly to end the three-month constitutional and political stalemate in Perak
“No authority to fire. Counsel: Sultan can appoint MB but can’t remove him.”
This is the headline of the Star report today on the historic case between the lawful and legitimate Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin and the usurper and illegitimate Mentri Besar Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir.
The headline came from the submission of Nizar’s lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah who submitted that while the Sultan was conferred the power to appoint a mentri besar, he did not have the same power to remove a sitting mentri besar.
Sulaiman said: “It is well and good in appointing, that is entirely up to the Sultan but getting rid of the mentri besar is no longer the Ruler’s function – it is now up to the state council. That can only be done through a vote of no confidence in the House.”
This position, which has always been the stand of the DAP and Pakatan Rakyat, has been fortified by none other than former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir at his keynote address on The Role of the Executive, Legislative, Judiciary and Constitutional Monarchy at the ninth Perdana Discourse Series today.
The various media headlines could not be clearer, viz: “Dr. M: Sultan has no power to remove MB” (Malaysiakini), “Dr M: MBs can only be removed through confidence vote” (Malaysian Insider), “Dr M: Ruler cannot remove head of govt” (Star online).
It is more than time for good sense to prevail to end the three-month-long constitutional and political crisis and stalemate, as an unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak is completely unacceptable and untenable.
It is most gratifying that more and more people in the Barisan Nasional are coming round to the view that the best solution to the Perak crisis is to dissolve the State Assembly and hold Perak state general election to return the mandate to Perakians to vote the state government they want, even though very few are brave enough to speak publicly.
The Dewan Negara President Tan Sri Dr. Abdul Hamid Pawanteh has proved to be a most commendable exception, with his call to resolve the Perak crisis by returning the mandate to the people.
In the Star report, “Go back to the people, says senate head”, Dr. Abdul Hamid said “the political situation in Perak has reached a stage where it may be time to go back to the people”.
This is wise advice as the compromising of the credibility, integrity and legitimacy of important institutions of the nation, like the monarchy, police, MACC, the judiciary, and undermining vital principles of a parliamentary democracy like the doctrine of the separation of powers will do more harm than good to the Najib motto of “1Malaysia”.
For this reason, I wish to appeal to the Sultan of Perak to dissolve the Perak State Assembly before its sitting tomorrow to end the three-month constitutional and political stalemate in Perak so that the people of Perak and Malaysia can single-mindedly focus on a united strategy to tide the country through the worst global economic crisis in a century.
Wong Chin Huat’s arrest – would Najib’s police detain Mahatma Gandhi for his civil disobedience campaign if the “Great-Souled” Indian is alive in Mala
Picture taken at Jalan Duta court lock-up, where Chin Huat was held awaiting remand hearing.
Civil society activist and poll reform group Bersih spokesperson Wong Chin Huat told me at the Jalan Duta Courts Complex lockup that he had been wearing black for 89 days to protest the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak since Feb. 5, 2009, but he was compelled to wear the compulsory orange police lock-up uniform on the 90th day.
He asked like-minded, justice and democracy-loving Malaysians to join in the protest against the undemocratic and illegal “coup d’etat” in Perak by wearing black, particularly tomorrow.
This is because tomorrow is the 91st day of the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak, when the usurper and illegitimate Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir is convening an illegal meeting of the Perak State Assembly to secure legitimacy for his totally illegitimate administration.
Chin Huat is in high and fighting spirits although he had been in police custody since 7.40 p.m yesterday when a platoon of nine police officers surprised Chin Huat outside his home in Taman Sri Sentosa, Kuala Lumpur as he was going out for dinner.
What was Chin Huat’s crime? It is believed that Chin Huat’s arrest under the Sedition Act is related to the press conference he had called yesterday to announce the BERSIH’s “1BLACKMalaysia” campaign to urge Malaysians to wear black on May 7 to protest against the undemocratic and unconstitutional power grab in Perak.
Chin Huat never advocated violence or force, only a peaceful but powerful civil disobedience campaign to make the people’s voice and protest heard loud and clear by the powers-that-be.
If Mahatma Gandi is alive today and in Malaysia, would the “Great-Souled” Indian be arrested for sedition by Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s police for his civil disobedience campaign?
Chin Huat’s arrest is a blatant case of police abuse of power. The police was super-fast and super-efficient to arrest Chin Huat within a few hours of the BERSIH media conference yesterday morning, but is super-slow and super-inefficient when performing its most elementary duty to protect the lives and property of Malaysians.
The media today reported another heart-wrenching loss of two lives when pregnant Jamilah Selamat, 32, succumbed to severe head injuries inflicted when she was a victim to a snatch thief near her home in Ayer Hitam, Johore.
We are reminded of a long list of avoidable fatalities in a country afflicted with endemic crime, like the Nanyang Siang Pau clerk, Chong Fee Cheng, 37, who died after she lapsed into a coma following a snatch theft in Taman Molek, Johor Baru and a housewife Lim See Nya, 58 in Bukit Mertajam who was run over by a three-tonne truck when she lost her balance and fell onto the road after a motor-cycle pillion rider grabbed her handbag.
Last week, the Johor Baru South OCPD was tied-up and robbed at knife-point in his house.
Why is the Police so super-fast and super-efficient to arrest Chin Huat when they are so super-slow and super-inefficient to arrest criminals to protect the personal safety and property of Malaysians, visitors, tourists and investors?
Kuala Lumpur Commercial Crimes Division Director Datuk Koh Hong Sun said Chin Huat was arrested for sedition following a police report to assist in police investigations.
This is a gross abuse of police powers in putting the cart before the horse. The police should investigate following a police report to ascertain whether there is any basis for the allegation that a crime has been committed. Instead, the police has chosen to arrest first and investigate later.
Chin Huat told me when I saw him at about 12.30 pm that although he had been in police custody for 17 hours, the police had not taken any statement from him.
The police has also seized a laptop and a cellular phone belonging to Chin Huat.
In ancient times, emperors and tyrants burnt books to deny their intellectuals the fundamental freedoms of thought, speech and expression. In this Internet era, the powers-that-be have resorted to snatching laptops and mobile phones!
Chin Huat’s arrest is a triple assault on the fundamental liberties of freedom of expression, media freedom and academic freedom.
Academicians and bloggers are rightly outraged. I agree with academician Ong Kian Ming who asked: “What kind of signal does the arrest send about the state of academic freedom in Malaysia?” and Khoo Kay Peng’s condemnation of Chin Huat’s arrest as “a national shame”!
Najib should intervene to direct Hishammuddin and the police to immediately release Chin Huat or his motto of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” will be the first casualty, as it would be seen as nothing more than a camouflage for “1Divided Malaysia. People Last. Performance Never.”
KUALA LUMPUR: The next MIC president, deputy president and vice-presidents are likely to serve only three terms of three years each.
The proposals are part of efforts to rebrand and revamp the party to improve its political fortunes.
Sources said the president, deputy president and three vice-presidents were likely to have their terms limited.
Divisional leaders are also expected to have their time in office capped.
However, central working committee members are not bound by such limits.
After serving for three consecutive terms, officials will have to sit it out for at least one term before offering themselves again for election.
"This was discussed at last month's central working committee meeting," a source said.
He said a party constitutional amendments committee has been appointed to look into the proposals.
The committee is expected to submit its findings at the next party CWC meeting next Thursday.
Appointed posts such as those of the secretary-general, treasurer-general and information chief are not included in the proposals.
The changes will have to be endorsed by two-thirds of the 1,500 delegates attending the annual general meeting.
Muthu in hot waterKUALA LUMPUR: Datuk M. Muthupalaniappan continues to be plagued by problems after being disqualified from contesting the post of party president in March.
A party source said the Negri Sembilan MIC strongman is alleged to have falsified the signatures of proposers in some of his nomination papers.
Some branch chairmen had complained that they were abroad when they had purportedly signed as proposers for the former MIC vice-president's bid to take on party chief Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.
It is learnt that the party disciplinary committee is awaiting a reply from the Seremban-based lawyer.
"However, until today, there has been no reply," the source said.
The committee is expected to announce its findings soon, including proof of alleged falsification.
A party member seeking to contest the presidential elections has to obtain 50 nominations, with each nomination needing a proposer and five seconders. All must be branch chairmen.
Samy Vellu was returned unopposed as president to lead the party for an 11th term after 48 out of 53 nominations submitted by Muthupalanippan were rejected by the election steering committee.
In Seremban, Muthupalaniappan said the allegations in the show-cause letter were baseless and unlawful.
He said it was an attempt to tarnish his image and that Samy Vellu was worried that he would go for the deputy president or vice-president's posts in the party elections.
"If I do, he (Samy Vellu) is worried that it will derail his succession plan. I will reply to the show-cause letter. I have nothing to hide."
urugiah denies bribe allegation
KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk T. Murugiah has denied bribing PPP division chiefs ahead of the party elections.
Murugiah, a former Youth chief and supreme council member, was asked to comment on party chief Datuk M. Kayveas' claim that "a certain individual" was wooing division heads with cash in exchange for votes.
Murugiah is rumoured to be gearing up to contest the PPP president's post in the June 7 party polls.
Nominations must be submitted by May 30.
Murugiah said he had not decided whether to contest any party positions.
By Gan Pei Ling and Shanon Shah
Mat Sabu (Source: mohamadsabu.com)
KUALA LUMPUR, 6 May 2009: PAS vice-president Mohamad Sabu was arrested by the police at 3.10pm today.
Mat Sabu, as the PAS leader is better known as, was detained for inciting members of the public and party supporters to assemble in Ipoh in conjunction with the Perak state legislative assembly sitting tomorrow, Perak Police Chief Datuk Zulkifli Abdullah told Bernama in Ipoh.
Zulkifli said a group of police officers in civilian clothes picked him up as soon as he walked out of Restoran Haslam at Jalan Pahang Barat, Kuala Lumpur.
PAS Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub, who was at the scene, claimed the police were "rough and uncivilised" when arresting Mat Sabu. He also claimed the police did not produce a warrant of arrest.
"A few friends and I tried to help abang Mat but we were stopped by the police officers," said Salahuddin, according to a Harakah report.
He added that the police did not inform them where Mat Sabu was being taken nor the reason for the arrest.
PAS MP for Kuala Selangor Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, who confirmed the arrest, told The Nut Graph: "It's probably because of Sabu's press conference on organising the 7 May solat hajat in Manjoi, Perak."
The PAS leader had plans to hold mass prayers in conjunction with the Perak state assembly sitting in Ipoh tomorrow.
This is the sixth arrest since political scientist Wong Chin Huat was detained under the Sedition Act last night.
Three activists from Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) were also detained by the police this morning for attempting to deliver a birthday cake to the Prime Minister's Office in Putrajaya.
(Pic by nazreth / sxc.hu) Sani Md Shah, Saufi Mihat and Yasir Sheikh Abdul had intended to send the cake commemorating murdered Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu's 31st birthday and a letter written by Altantuya's father to prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The cake was seized and squashed for "security reason", according to the police.
PKR supreme council member and SAMM coordinator Badrul Hisham Shaharin and another person were also arrested when they attempted to deliver food to the three SAMM activists at 2pm.Badrul Hisham, who is better known as Chegu Bard, had on 30 April threatened to hold a nationwide, mammoth funeral possession for Altantuya unless Najib filed suit against all the international media that had carried stories linking him to the dead Mongolian.
By N Shashi Kala
KUALA LUMPUR, 6 May 2009: Police arrested 14 people taking part in a candlelight vigil for detained political scientist Wong Chin Huat outside the Brickfields district police station tonight.
However, all 14 were released unconditionally a few hours later.
Wong, an academic, was arrested for writing several allegedly seditious articles including on the 1BLACKMalaysia campaign.
According to a Malaysiakini report, among those arrested were its columnist Josh Hong, Serdang member of Parliament Teo Nie Ching, Suara Keadilan Chinese edition editor Law Teck Hao, 29, Suaram coordinator John Liu (26) and a few members of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, including its civil rights committee vice-head Liau Kok Fah (47).
The arrests took place in two waves, with the first taking place at 9.15pm, and the second an hour later.
According to one of those was detained in the first wave, Melissa Wong, 25, there were only less than a dozen people taking part in the vigil when the police moved in.
"I heard about the candlelight vigil from a friend and decided to turn up to show support for Chin Huat. I had only just collected my candle when a senior police officer armed with a baton threatened us and said 'I will give to the count of three to disperse or else I will arrest you'," she said.
"It was very unfair. We were given only seconds to disperse. Before we could even move, the police officers — many of them in plainclothes — moved in and arrested us," Wong told The Nut Graph.
She said two of those detained, Suaram's Liu and Temme Lee, started to mobilise and inform others about the arrests. However, lawyers who came to the scene were not allowed into the police station to meet with the detainees.
"We were notified that statements would be taken but we were advised by our lawyer friends not do so until lawyers were admitted," she said, adding that a second batch of six detainees were brought into the compound a while later.
"I think it is pretty unfair. In my opinion, I feel the police were out to get people. There was no negotiation with the organisers. For no crime other than taking part in the vigil, we were arrested," Wong lamented.Those detained were taken into the police compound and had their personal particulars recorded before being released in batches, with the last person leaving at around 11.20pm
Its president Ragunath Kesavan said: "The Bar is concerned that the police have resorted to the use of the Act yet again to stifle public opinion and dissenting voices that are unfavourable to the ruling government. The police should be above politics.
"The police must remain above politics to regain public confidence as an institution not mired in politics. It must not be seen as a tool to intimidate and cow those who express disagreement."
"The arrest of Wong, seemingly for the 'crime' of advocating that those who disagree with the events unfolding in Perak wear black tomorrow, does not augur well for the Prime Minister's promise of openness and respect for the people. Healthy and open debate on issues of public concern must be permitted," he said.
Ragunath, who condemned the manner in which Wong was arrested yesterday night and denied counsel, said the Bar was firmly opposed to the Act which he labelled an "affront to democracy".
"We reiterate our stand that authoritarian and repressive legislation such as the Act is an absolute affront to democracy. We strongly urge the Government to repeal the Act, and to refrain from using it, particularly against those whose viewpoints differ from the ruling government's," said Ragunath who called for the release of the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) spokesman.
Wong's arrest was also condemned by Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who defended Wong's call for all Malaysians to wear black in protest of the Barisan Nasional takeover of the Perak government.
"Wong's call to the public to wear black on May 7 as a sign of protest is an opinion that is not in breach of his rights as a citizen of Malaysia and the practice of democracy," he added.
DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY) deputy chairman Jenice Lee called on all Malaysians to heed the call by Bersih to wear black today as a sign of protest over the Barisan Nasional (BN) takeover of the Perak State Assembly.
Key sections of the Sedition Act
What is sedition?
This is defined under Section 3 (1) of the Sedition Act 1948. Basically, these are acts that have a tendency to
» bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against any ruler or against any government, or against the administration of justice
» to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the people to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races; or to question any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative established or protected by the provisions of part III of the Federal Constitution or Article 152, 153 or 181 of the Federal Constitution.
Section 4 further states that anyone who "does or attempts to do, or makes any preparation to do, or conspires with any person to do" an act with seditious tendency, such as uttering seditious words, or printing, publishing or importing seditious literature, is guilty of sedition. It is also a crime to possess a seditious publication without a "lawful excuse".
It defines sedition itself as anything which "when applied or used in respect of any act, speech, words, publication or other thing qualifies the act, speech, words, publication or other thing as having a seditious tendency".
Are there any exceptions?
Section 3(2) provides examples of speech which cannot be deemed seditious. It is not seditious to:
» show that any ruler has been misled or mistaken in any of his measures;
» to point out errors or defects in the government or Constitution as by law established;
» to point out, with a view to their removal, any matters producing or having a tendency to produce feelings of ill-will and enmity between different races or classes of the population of the Federation.
However, the Act explicitly states that any matter covered by subsection (1)(f), namely those matters pertaining to the Malaysian social contract, cannot have these exceptions applied to it.
What's the punishment for sedition?
On conviction, a first-time offender can be jailed up to three years, or fined not more than RM5,000 or both. A repeat offender can be jailed up to five years.