Friday, February 6, 2009

Perak Crisis: A Mockery of our Democratic system- Hannah Yeoh

Nizar 'booted out' of MB's office- Malaysiakini photo

To those who argue that the political crisis in Perak now is a taste of Pakatan's own medicine (referring to the Sept 16 takeover plan), they have failed to see the key differences between the two.

If you remember what happened when Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim claimed to have the numbers to form the new federal government, he wrote to PM Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi requesting him to convene an emergency sitting of Parliament. This was rejected by the PM. The next constitutional option is to press for the dissolution of Parliament to make way for fresh new elections. That was also not entertained. Anwar Ibrahim exhausted the constitutional means that were available to him. If Pakatan were to act unconstitutionally and lure defections, then we will be having a new government today. But we didn't and we will not act unconstitutionally.

So you can't say that Najib's coup and Pakatan's plan were one and the same.Some may also say, well what about the earlier defection of Bota assemblyman, Datuk Nasarudin Hashim? Why did Pakatan Rakyat accept him? Why not force his seat to be vacated for a by-election? Let's keep things in perspective here. His defection was that of an opposition lawmaker to a governing lawmaker. His defection did not alter the balance of power in the State Assembly. Pakatan Rakyat remained as government, and BN as opposition. Status quo.

Logically and intelligently, anyone can safely assume that Pakatan Rakyat didn't need a defection from BN. Thus, he defected on his own accord and on his own will. There was no need for Pakatan Rakyat to force him to vacate his seat as he did not win the seat on a Pakatan ticket. The Pakatan government really has no standing in forcing him to vacate a seat which wasn't earned by Pakatan in the first place!

I must say that I had great respect for Sultan Azlan Shah. Until yesterday. I wonder how he could possibly consent to the formation of a new BN state government when constitutionally, a government is still in place. And to even approve to a new Menteri Besar when the existing one is still in office? How can any state have 2 heads of government at any one time? There can only be one Menteri Besar of Perak. This is a mockery. The Menteri Besar can only be removed by the State Assembly via a vote of no-confidence or via the dissolution of the assembly. And none of these two constitutional means has been requested by BN. How can anyone claim that Najib and Anwar are one and the same?

Next, the Sultan called for a "unity" government to be formed by BN and the Independents. Let's be clear about this. The Independents are in no way legally bound to represent BN. Well, at least not yet, not till they officially become members of a BN component party. All that the Sultan and Najib has from them is a verbal assurance that "we will be friendly to BN". And just by appearing in a press conference with Najib, it justifies the change of government?

What if next week these Independents were to be seen in a press conference with Pakatan? A real "unity" government envisioned by the Sultan should have been an all-inclusive government of Pakatan, BN, and the Independents. Pakatan and BN each have 28 seats, and the Independents 3. Thus, no single party or coalition has a commanding majority. If there is to be a "unity" government, it calls for a new coalition of PR-BN-Ind which is impossible.

Thus, what the Sultan has called for is simply a name without substance. What "unity" if it's going to consist of only single-minded representatives - all "friendly to BN"? That's not a "unity" government, it's a BN government. This is a mockery of the intelligence of Malaysians. A beginning of what is to come with this PM-to-be.

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