The circus that is the Perak State AssemblyPosted: May 9, 2009
It’s been almost three months since the last time I posted something on this blog.
Three long months later, it seems that the core political issue in Malaysia is STILL focused in Perak.
What we’ve seen in the past week or so, and in particular these past couple of days, has been nothing less than a circus.
We’ve seen screaming politicians (who call themselves the people’s representatives, tsk..tsk..) who try to talk over each other without even bothering to think of whether what they’re saying makes any sense. We’ve seen the police being called into the Dewan, which incidentally, I believe, is not allowed. We’ve seen a Speaker (or ousted Speaker, depending on which side of the political fence you’re on) being dragged, literally, out of the Dewan. We’ve seen state assemblypersons being man-handled INSIDE the Dewan.
And as if that’s not enough, we’ve seen a record number of people being arrested (69 if I’m not mistaken) for being at the wrong place at the wrong time wearing shirts with the wrong colour. We’ve seen lawyers being arrested for trying to do what it is that they’re supposed to be doing. We’ve seen people being arrested because they chose to eat breakfast at the wrong coffee shop. And it goes without saying that we’ve also seen a coffee shop needing to close down early (and therefore losing money) because it’s situated at the wrong location on that particular morning.
Then we’ve also seen people being arrested for buying and delivering a cake. We’ve seen someone being arrested for sedition because of organising a “wear black” day. We’ve seen people being arrested for being at vigils organised to show support for this person who organised the “wear black” day.
Have we seen it all?
It is becoming increasingly difficult, impossible even, to imagine how the Perak state government will be run in the coming years before the next election (assuming that the assembly doesn’t get dissolved till the next GE). We now have a Speaker who is not recognised as legit by the other camp. We have a court case pending to decide on who exactly is the MB of Perak.
Which, to me, sets a very dangerous precedent.
When the decision by the Speaker to suspend 10 assemblypersons from the Dewan was brought to court, challenged, and subsequently declared void, it put the first screw into the works.
No matter how screwed up one might think the system is, we have to understand that our country is supposed to function according to the Separation of Powers. It basically means that there are three independent (read: INDEPENDENT) bodies that function by themselves, without one taking over the other. The Legislature (the Dewan) is supposed to be independent from the Executive (the Cabinet/Exco), which is independent from the Judiciary (the Courts).
If the courts have now set a precedent that they can decide to over-rule the Speaker’s decision in the Dewan, are we actually seeing a complete end to the already weak Separation of Powers?
And now, if the courts can also decide which person is the legitimate Menteri Besar of Perak, does this mean that the Prime Minister’s position can also be challenged in the future, without needing to go through elections?