Perak has recorded a series of “unique achievements” in the constitutional crisis facing the state, making it OnePerak indeed, observes Martin Jalleh.
One man’s catchphrase of reform – “the culture of change” – has been fully exposed for what it really is – political chicanery and a potent concoction of 4Cs – Corruption, Coercion, Crossovers and Coups. One sees this in Perak, where the right of the people of Perak to determine their State Government has been stolen in broad daylight by the “people’s Prime Minister”.
One haughty political party in Bolehland, humiliated in the last general election and by a series of by-election losses, hangs on to power desperately by hijacking a state government by high-handed, hideous and heinous means such as money politics, mysterious disappearances, mobs and manipulative manoeuvrings of the nation’s democratic institutions.
One fraudulent State Government is formed in Perak by the crossovers of two assembly members charged with corruption, one assembly woman who compromised and reduced the price of democracy to cash and Camry – a threesome who made themselves “independent” of the will of the people – and the double-crossing over of one Umno assembly member.
One — hand-in-glove with its political (pay)master, the one-sided Election Commission (the supposed paragon of democracy) — panders and plays to the tune and remains pliant to Umno and its power grabbing to prevent the people of Perak from being the one paramount arbitrator to overcome the State’s political deadlock.
One farcical State Government – made up of an overwhelming 27 Umno assembly members, one MCA assembly member and three ‘independent’ hoppers — is portrayed as a unique and strong representation of multiracial unity and governance! The people are expected to believe that the most divisive force, led by dubious and devious characters, will make Perak one!
One interfering and intimidating show of force by the police force, assisted by Umno’s thugs and the spineless State Secretary, is brazenly displayed to prevent the Menteri Besar (MB) and the Pakatan Rakyat Assembly members from entering the State Assembly. They who pathetically fail to arrest the rising crime rate in the country rise to every occasion to protect Umno’s “internal security”.
One “small boy” in the Prime Minister’s Department calls the Speaker a “boy speaker” The latter has in fact been amongst the very few who are man enough to stand up to the taunts, threats, tricks of Umno and refuse the tempting offers of the powers-that-be – in sharp contrast to the Minister who is well-known for his childish temper tantrums and theatrics in Parliament.
The only and only judiciary
One open-court-shy probationary judge is chosen to decide on a constitutional matter of such monumental significance. He rules that the genuine MB must be represented by the State Legal Advisor – which means that the two political adversaries fighting for the MB’s seat have the same lawyer in the same court case! It was one historic judicial farce!
One further bizarre leap of logic, the “arrogant novice” takes. He extends his judicial purview to the proceedings of a state assembly – which the Federal Constitution clearly forbids. He issues a court order restraining the Speaker from holding any assembly meetings. This trainee judge, who had his contract extended for another two years, has been well-trained to be naive!
One jaundiced judgment leads to another. Constitutionally, a Speaker or his acts in a Legislative Assembly cannot be questioned in court. Yet, one High Court judge in Ipoh dismisses the Speaker’s application to strike out the summons of the three turncoat assembly members who sought a declaration that the Speaker’s order to declare their assembly seats vacant was illegal.
One Federal Court of five unanimously myopic judges declares that the three turncoat assembly members are still members of the Perak State Legislature and that the Election Commission is the rightful entity to establish if there was a casual vacancy in the Perak State Legislature and the authority to declare a seat vacant, not the Speaker.
One bad judgment it surely was when seen against a clause in the Perak Constitution which states: “It is only upon receiving the decision of the Legislative Assembly will the Election Commission be able to establish that there is a vacancy.” As retired Court of Appeal judge N. H. Chan commented: “The Federal Court has put the cart before the horse – in this case, just the cart without the horse.”
One unanimously errant Federal Court five-judge panel declares that the Speaker’s decision to suspend the illegitimate MB and six others was null and void. As was pointed out by the abovemen-tioned “inconvenient” former judge, it was a “perverse ruling”, an “ineffectual thunderbolt” – or in the infamous words of Justice Augustine Paul – “irrelevant”!
One dead constitution the Federal Court leaves behind. It disgracefully disregards and discards constitutional provisions to treat the doctrine of separation of powers with deference and shows glaring preference for the illegitimate MB. In stark contrast, on five other occasions, the Courts had ruled that the judiciary has no jurisdiction over decisions made in legislative assemblies.
One black day in the Perak State Assembly Malaysians will never forget. A fracas takes place. The fraudulent State Government takes over. A fake Speaker is installed. The police trespass into the State Assembly and forcibly drags out the Speaker, an officer of the legislature. “It was high-handedness at its foulest,” commented Umno leader, Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz.
One new judge (only one month old) in the Court of Appeal continues the judicial circus. He is a one-man panel and grants the usurper MB a permanent stay of the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s ruling that Nizar is the lawful MB. Why choose a new man and a one-man panel when the Court of Appeal has 22 judges? Why stay a declaratory order which is not normally done?
One question crops up after another. Why the “indecent haste” to grant the illegitimate MB a stay? Why was the application of the lawful MB not treated with equal urgency? The court gave a verdict as fast as about only two-and-a-half hours after the usurper made his application. Nizar had to wait eight days before his application was heard! Why?
One further major judicial misstep the Court of Appeal takes by allowing an appeal by the illegitimate MB. In a five-minute oral judgment, the appellate court reversed the brave decision of the Kuala Lumpur High Court that declared Nizar the rightful MB. For many “(t)here was no reasoned grounds of judgment but mere findings of the Court of Appeal” (Lim Kit Siang).
One big constitutional mess the learned judges leave the country in. One grave implication of the judgment is that a Sultan can sack his Menteri Besar without a no-confidence vote in the State Assembly. The Agong can now sack the prime minister at his pleasure (and perhaps much to the pleasure of Bolehland) without a motion of no-confidence in Parliament!
One mere “regurgitation of a list of (the illegitimate MB’s) arguments, void of any reasoned input by the panel” (Kim Quek) which “changes the nature of Malaysia as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy! In one fell swoop, the supremacy and the sovereignty of the people as symbolised by the institution of the elected state assembly has been sabotaged!” (Sim Kwang Yang)
One extraordinary mystery remains – in spite of the existence of such “extraordinary judges in Malaysia with extraordinary abilities” there have been no written judgments – in all the cases related to the Perak constitutional crisis to explain how the exceptional decisions were arrived at. It has been one long delay by the Court of Appeal in spite of the presiding judge’s promise during the oral judgment that the written judgment would be given in one week.
One excellent exception of course is the well-written judgment by High Court judge Justice Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim declaring Nizar as the rightful MB at all times. One brave judge who administers justice according to the law brings a glimmer of hope to a judiciary that the public perceives as having reduced itself to one big joke!
One colossal failure
One Perak – a State with two MBs, two Speakers, two State Governments and a police force and judiciary without the two essentials of manhood that would make them bold enough to stand up to Umno’s shameless display of belligerence and arrogance.
One colossal failure it is by the PM and illegitimate and delusional MB who compares his political struggle to Mandela’s and Gandhi’s. “The Perak power grab had reduced Perak into a failed state. …(it) is a tragicomedy of errors and bad political judgment that reflects a failure of political leadership” (Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah).
One and only way for Perak to move forward is to go back to the people! It of course depends very much on the PM and also on the Sultan.