The unfolding events of yesterday in Perak deserve to be captured in the annals of history so that our future generations will know how brave our people were in fighting for truth, honesty and liberty.
It all started when BN seized the state government after securing of pledges of loyalty from 3 Pakatan Rakyat assembly persons who had quit their respective political parties and became independents.
The 3 defectors had earlier signed undated letters of resignation which had been accepted by the Speaker of the Perak State Assembly, V. Sivakumar. The Speaker then informed the Elections Commission to run by-elections in those vacated constituencies. However, the Elections Commission declined by deeming undated letters as unacceptable. The Menteri Besar of Perak, Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, then advised the Sultan of Perak to dissolve the state assembly to pave way for fresh elections. The Sultan declined and instead swore in Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir from BN as the new Menteri Besar without Nizar having actually resigning from the post. These contentious series of events had led to a constitutional (and some would say, institutional) crisis in Perak.
The Perak Assembly Speaker, V. Sivakumar then suspended Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and 6 other BN member for failing to answer adequately to charges of contempt of the State Assembly when they were sworn in via unconstitutional means. Lawsuits from all sides followed.
But nothing prepared the nation for what happened yesterday.
The stage for yesterday’s showdown was set by Sivakumar who had earlier called for an emergency sitting of the State Assembly. The BN lawmakers filed a suit the night before the emergency sitting to seek an injunction to this emergency sitting.
The State Secretary, a civil servant, stepped beyond his jurisdiction by not following the instructions of the State Speaker. He instead sent orders to seal off the State Assembly building. The police also side stepped the law when they stopped lawmakers from entering the State Assembly building to conduct the emergency sitting.
A group of alleged “supporters” of UMNO also turned up for the party to block the lawmakers from going into the building.
While allowing Sivakumar to enter the State Assembly, the 27 other lawmakers were barred entry into the building. Unperturbed, Sivakumar and the lawmakers, including Menteri Besar Nizar, walked to find a place where they can hold the emergency meeting.
They found a spot near some residential houses around 100 meters away from the State Assembly building. In that spot stood an old rain tree. And under the tree, the State Assembly met and conducted their Emergency Sitting.
3 motions were passed: Nizar retained the confidence of the Assembly as the rightful Menteri Besar of Perak, the suspension of Zamry and 6 others was upheld and power was given to Nizar to once again to seek the grace of the Sultan to dissolve the assembly paving the way for fresh elections.
Under that grand old rain tree, the will and the voice of the people reigned supreme.
History was truly made.
Pictures (c) Reuters and AFP/Vincent Thian