The 13th Malaysian General Elections will be the most important turning point in the history of our nation, bar the independence of Malaya and the formation of the federation of Malaysia. For the first time ever, all 222 parliamentary and 505 state assembly seats will be contested. This broke the tradition of BN winning seats by default during nomination day due to non-contest.
The just concluded 2012 Republican National Convention was memorable because Clint Eastwood gave a kooky speech while talking to an empty chair. Apparently, he was castigating an invisible potty mouthed Barack Obama who supposedly sat in the chair. Even before poor Mitt Romney took the stage to give his acceptance speech, the twittersphere was a buzz with snarky and often humorous tweets on the surreal “performance” of the Oscar winning, husky-voiced, octogenarian actor-director.
One of them is @InvisibleObama. He (or she, or they) started a series of funny tweets (often at the expense of Mitt Romney and the GOP) with gems like:-
When Mitt Romney says “Mr. Chairman”, do you think he’s referring to me?
I’m behind Mitt! No seriously. I’m right behind him.
Pretty soon, everyone joined in and even President Obama chimed in with this:-
Memes started popping up:-
Meanwhile, our own Communications and Information Minister (who has the dubious honor of a permanent hashtag of #yorais attached to every tweet regarding him) encouraged tweeting Malaysians to tweet between 8.15pm and 9.15pm on the 31st of August. The topic is should be about freedom, independence and…how grateful Malaysians feel towards “promises fulfilled” (which is the theme of this year’s independence day).
While Rais Yatim claimed that the massive simul-tweet campaign is a success, others didn’t think so when they analyzed the tweets.
It is interesting to note the prominence of social media in our modern political arena. While one can control the message, one can’t control the medium (without being discovered). In parting, there is only one way to compare what happened in the US with what happened in Malaysia: While Americans are tweeting about an invisible president, invisible Malaysians are tweeting about Merdeka!
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
The political drama that is the state of Perak took an abrupt turn for the absurd when the BN claimed that it had enough assemblymen to form the state government, ousting the current Pakatan Rakyat alliance.
What started as a “victory” for the Pakatan Rakyat when Anwar Ibrahim appeared in a press conference together with an UMNO turncoat two weaks ago turned horribly wrong for the fledgling DAP-PAS-PKR alliance goverment. Not only did 2 missing-for-a-week PKR assemblymen defected to the other side, a disgruntled DAP assemblywoman did the same. And most dramatic of all, the Anwar hugging UMNO turncoat, turned again, this time back to UMNO. This gave the BN-led opposition enough seats to technically form the state government as it now has a simple, slim majority in the Perak state assembly.
This farcical turn of events unfolded at 4pm today when the turncoats turned up in Putrajaya for a press conference by Najib announcing that BN has enough seats to form the state goverment. At around the same time, the Menteri Besar of Perak, Nizar was with the Sultan of Perak, seeking his grace’s permission to dissolve the state assembly thus paving the way for a fresh state election.
At the end, the Sultan decided to sleep over it without making any decisions.
PKR needed people to field during the last general election. Not having enough candidates, they picked anyone who breathed. Meanwhile, DAP, who had been in the opposition for so long, cannot even work together to govern without opposing each other. Making things worse is that UMNO has the money to buy off anyone they liked. Would you take the RM 50 million if you were offered to jump?
If it wasn’t so tragic, it would be really funny.