04 March, 2009

Perak events a "chain reaction of illegality"

There is, however, another class for which I feel not the slightest sympathy. Parliament has given us powers to put down fifth column activities with the strongest hand, and we shall use those powers subject to the supervision and correcting of the House without hesitation until we are satisfied and more than satisfied that this malignancy in our midst has been effectually stamped out....

At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. that is the resolve of His Majesty's Government, every man of them. that is the will of Parliament and the nation......

We shall not flag nor fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France and on the seas and oceans; we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender and even if, which I do not for the moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, will carry on the struggle until in God's good time the New World with all its power and might, sets forth to the liberation and rescue of the Old. .

- Winston Churchill.

Former Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah(pic) said today the takeover of the Perak state government by Barisan Nasional had set off a "chain reaction of illegality" which threatens to leave the state without a legitimate government.

"The BN’s takeover of Perak has set off a chain-reaction of illegality which has left Perak quite possibly without a legitimate government. One of our most prosperous states has been reduced to a failed state," said Razaleigh, in a statement today.

"One lie leads to many lies. Each bad action leads to a cascade of follies. Particularly when the lie or violation concerns something very basic. This is a principle we teach our children. It is a simple. but universal truth now being demonstrated in Perak," said Razaleigh, who called for all violations of the Federal Constitution to cease.

"Those who so blithely ignore the Constitution for political ends are quite literally wrecking the foundations of this country to further their own interests. This must stop," he said, adding that continued violations of the Constitution would erode public confidence in the rule of law.

"With each violation, the sense of decency and restraint, and the habits that bind us to the Constitution are loosened. The confidence in the rule of law that makes civilized life possible is diminished," he added.

Razaleigh reminded the people that the Constitution should be treated with more reverence than other law in the country.

"The Constitution is not just any law. It is the set of laws that founds our nation, defines its basic principles, guarantees our individual rights and prescribes the structures, duties, and powers which make a national community possible," he said.

"It is the very foundation and source of the legal authority underlying the existence of Malaysia," he added.

"Laws are invisible things. They exist only when they are understood and observed. When the government of the day ignores foundational principles such as the separation of powers, the Constitution becomes a dead piece of paper," added Razaleigh.

- The Sun

Politicians might have started the Perak imbroglio but the palace, too, is culpable for adding to the constitutional crisis that has led to a state assembly under a rain tree yesterday by a government ousted through royal fiat.

Locked out from the state office by civil servants acting in the name of the state ruler, Nizar and his cohorts have filed lawsuits and finally used the assembly to suspend Zambry and his six executive councillors. Zambry himself have filed lawsuits that now prevent state speaker V. Sivakumar from convening assembly meetings.

Since the time the Barisan Nasional government was sworn in by the Perak palace, there has been polarisation in both the state and country.

Everywhere, there are cries of “Foul!” at the way the executive has interfered with the legislature, and now, even the courts. The civil service and police, too, seem to have forgotten the doctrine of the separation of powers.

That has led to the assembly under a rain tree, subjecting Malaysia to ridicule for its practice of democracy.

The power to choose is with the people but the power to decide is with the palace.

Meanwhile, The Malaysian Bar Council hit out strongly against the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for questioning one of the lawyers on the legal team representing Perak Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar this afternoon.

Ipoh-based lawyer, Augustine Anthony, claimed MACC officers asked him about his dealings with Sivakumar, whom they are investigating for allegations of misconduct.

"We are very concerned with these actions because we view these actions as acts of intimidation of a lawyer who was exercising his professional duty to his client," Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan told The Malaysian Insider.
"Recently, there appears to be a trend by the authorities to question lawyers who are acting for certain clients in relation to the discharge of their duties," she added, naming prominent lawyers R. Sivarasa, N. Surendran, M. Puravalen and Americk Sidhu who had represented private eye P. Balasubramaniam, a key witness in the murder trial of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu, before he went missing.

Ambiga noted such interrogations had spiked since the 12th General Elections last March, which resulted in an upset to the Barisan Nasional's tight grip on power in several key states.

"This cannot be tolerated. The lawyer-client privilege is sacrosanct," she observed.

By the way, did you know that Malaysia is standing on the brink of recession as falling demand hits exports and manufacturing with growth expected to reach just 0.5% for the year ?

Official data released last week also showed Malaysia's economic growth slowed to just 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2008, hit by falling exports and manufacturing as demand continues to evaporate.



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