28 October, 2009

The spirit of 1Malaysia - BN and PR hold simultaneous 'meetings' in the same venue !

The Perak State Assembly sitting to approve the 2010 state budget today descended into pandemonium when two rival groups of assemblymen held their "meetings" with separate agendas in the same venue.

The Barisan Nasional state government led by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir approved his motion on the budget. The Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen led by Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin approved three motions.

The second session of the 12th Perak assembly sitting was possibly one of the shortest in the state’s history as it was adjourned sine die three hours after it started.

The sitting began at 10am minus the presence of Opposition assemblymen with speaker Datuk R. Ganesan reminding the elected representatives to adhere to the rules of the sitting.
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir (BN-Pangkor) then proceeded to present his 2010 Budget.

After 15 minutes, shouts were heard from outside of the august House with Opposition representatives demanding that they be let into the hall without being stopped by police.

Moments later, the Opposition led by former mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin (PAS-Pasir Panjang) entered the hall followed by ousted speaker V. Sivakumar (DAP-Tronoh).
Seeing this, Ganesan adjourned the sitting for an hour to 11.20am.

After being ushered to their respective seats, A. Sivasubramaniam (DAP-Buntong) took a jibe at Ganesan for allowing heavy police presence in the hall.
He also told Ganesan to vacate his speaker seat to allow Sivakumar to be seated.

Opposition representatives later proceeded to hold their own sitting in the hall by passing three resolutions.

The resolutions were that 1Malaysia camps be suspended following the Kuala Dipang incident, the satisfactory performance of the Perak Pakatan Rakyat state government last year as quoted in the Auditor-General’s report, and the nomination of former Perak PKR chief Osman Abdul Rahman as a senator.

At this juncture, Barisan backbenchers led by Pengkalan Hulu assemblyman Datuk Seri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali stood up and started to mingle with their political colleagues.

When Ganesan reconvened the sitting to allow Dr Zambry to continue presenting his Budget, the Opposition tried to disrupt him by shouting and jeering.

The voices of backbenchers, who stood up to second the Budget, were drowned by shouts from the Opposition.

The Opposition later left for the assembly library and a their press conference.

Meanwhile, AMNESTY International Malaysia (AI) is deeply concerned over the use of a blanket injunction reportedly obtained by the police for the 28 Oct 2009 Perak state legislative assembly. Such restraining orders allow for abuse of police powers, as any person within a stipulated range can be arrested without due process and proper examination of facts. This subjects the public to the risk of detention, torture, and other forms of ill-treatment and selective prosecution.

Blanket Injunction Undermines Fundamental Rights

Amnesty is disturbed to learn this is not the first time that the police obtained such a court order and that it has become the police’s standard practice to facilitate a mass crackdown on a peaceful assembly and to make blanket arrests arbitrarily.

Amnesty views such an injunction against the entire Malaysian public as a travesty and mockery of our Malaysian justice system.

This is because such applications are made and granted based solely on one party’s prejudice that undermines the subjected parties’ right to be heard in an open court and the right to answer the police’s allegations, unfounded grounds and concerns.

Amnesty is of the opinion that the court order is obtained purely to suppress and undermine the freedom of expression and assembly, and gives the police arbitrary powers to arrest citizens who were only exercising their Constitutional rights.

The court order also gives the police unlimited powers and enables greater abuse of power as it subjects the general public to a great risk of arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and other forms of ill treatment and selective prosecution.

We believe the order undermines the fundamental freedom of assembly and movement guaranteed by our Federal Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Amnesty would like to strongly remind the Malaysian police of their statutory duty to protect the interests and rights of the public.

The UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials spells out in Article 5 that no law enforcement official may inflict, instigate or tolerate any act of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or invoke superior orders or exceptional circumstances, such as a threat to national security, to justify these actions.

Amnesty International Malaysia views that policing in Malaysia must adhere and observe to a higher standard of human rights compliance.

Any policing and public order exercise must clearly reflect and demonstrate human rights compliance. The public must be assured of a professional, credible and human rights compliant police service.

We call on the Malaysian Police to respect Malaysians’ right to their fundamental freedoms and stop the current practice of obtaining a unilateral court order to crack down on peaceful assemblies in Malaysia.

K. Shan

Campaign Coordinator

Amnesty International Malaysia



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