Friday, February 06, 2009

Constitutional crisis & the most hated man in Oz

Once upon a time (to be precise, in 1975) in a far far away land (colloquially called Down-Under) there was a man by the name of John Kerr.

John Kerr was the Governor-General (GG) of Down-Under or as it is better known, Australia.

The GG was the Queen’s representative, thus in representing the Queen, one could argue that he spoke with the voice of the Queen.

I wonder whether he said stuff like the equivalent of our "Beta bertitah ..."

The PM then was the very popular Gough Whitlam who just won a second term of government.

To cut the story short because (i) it’s an Aussie story, and (ii) it’s a 30 year old story (we’ll come back to the figure ‘30’ shortly), …

… John Kerr did two things against Westminister tradition: (i) instead of taking the PM’s advice, he took the Opposition Leader’s word, and ...

... (ii) he misused the reserved powers of a GG (which no one imagined he would use because it was a nebulous sort of reserve power that no one had used for a long long time with almost everyone forgetting how it actually works) …

… to dismiss Gough Whitlam from the PM position and appoint Malcolm Fraser the Opposition Leader as the new PM.

That act divided the nation.

I would not be exaggerating if I say that until some years back, John Kerr had from that act overnight became the most hated man in Australia.

He was so hated that wherever he went in Australia he was harassed, pelted and even had (fortunately unsuccessful) attempts of violence against him.

Gough Whitlam’s party and those who supported the Labour Party denounced John Kerr (they insultingly called him John Cur) for the illegitimate dismissal of an elected PM, and …

… sent him 30 pieces of silver.

Wikipedia said that: Kerr was not forgiven by many Australians. Countless demonstrations occurred against him for years. He found the personal attacks on him and his wife (whom Whitlam and others accused of having been a sinister influence) deeply wounding.

For the rest of his term as Governor-General Kerr was rarely able to appear in public without encountering angry demonstrations against him. On one occasion his life was endangered when he was unable to leave a speaking engagement in Melbourne except by having his car drive through an angry crowd.

Labor MPs and Senators refused to accept his legitimacy as governor-general, as did Labor parliamentarians in the states and territories, shunning all official functions where he was in attendance.

There is ample evidence that this situation took a toll on Kerr's already frayed nerves. There is evidence to suggest that he increasingly turned to alcohol to deal with his situation.

Seeking solace and refuge in alcoholism he soon became an embarrassment to the very government he had appointed in a constitutional coup d’etat.

He and his wife went into exile in Europe for some twenty years before he came home to die.

Interestingly, just prior to Kerr becoming the GG, he was the Chief Justice of New South Wales.


  1. wah.....

    hopefully, this gets replicated over in malaysia.....

  2. I like you KT. The same thing will happen in Malaysia. The whites for all their stupidity were at least 30 years ahead of us when it comes to the art of harassing corrupt politicians. Now we have a chance to equal or even surpass them. Hallelujah

  3. I'm not sure to what extent the people are willing to... well... show civil disobedience towards HRH...

  4. The Sultan is not the enemy.

    He acted accordingly given the constitution. There is a member of the DUN commanding majority support, the Sultan assigned him MB and rejected the member who does not.
    There is no malice or error here.

    The real enemy is the practice of party hopping. This is the practice that people should spit and demonstrate at. The show of anger should be unbiased. If BN can't do it, then PR can't do it. If BN frogs are dirty, then PR frogs are dirty.

    PR attack the Sultan cause they wanna people to forget that they started this mess first thru party hopping and it backfired on their ass.

  5. Must be due to Year of OX cloudy "Chi". Some people actually don't know WTF they are doing due to the corrupted Chi.
    Those who plan the poison seed, it will let their successor taste the poison fruits.

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  7. @Anon 11:30 PM, February 06, 2009
    "There is a member of the DUN commanding majority support"

    How do you know that? The 3 independent members making up the alleged BN majority swore to the sultan they would be faithful to PR fewer than 11 months ago. Looked what happened since. Talk about trustworthy characters.

    Let a vote of no confidence take place and take it from there. This is the way it is done in parliamentary democracies.

  8. Dear Eric. I am the anon that you quoted.

    The independent ADUN didn't swear loyalty to PR. They gave their confidence to ex MB, Nizam. And now, they have no more confidence for Nizam and give confidence to another member of the DUN.

    There is no provision in the constitution dictating that the Sultan can only determine no-confidence through a vote.

    The independent ADUNs face-to-face with the Sultan is sufficient to determine that confidence of the majority has shifted.

  9. aah sorry. "ex MB, Nizar" not "ex MB, Nizam".

  10. Dear Anon;

    "The independent ADUN didn't swear loyalty to PR. They gave their confidence to ex MB, Nizam." You are right, I stand corrected.

    However, let me disagree on "The independent ADUNs face-to-face with the Sultan is sufficient to determine that confidence of the majority has shifted."

    Where is the due process? I maintain the only proper way is through a vote of no confidence in the assembly. What will happen next, will we see groups of ADUN/ MP (federal level) visiting sultans as and when they fancy? Changing allegiances every few months based on the positions or other perks they get from either camps? By the way, do we have any minutes of recording of such interviews? How do we know what was actually discussed? What happens if these fickle "independent" change their mind again?

    For me, as a non-learned lawyer, for the Sultan to assimilate these informal interviews to a proper expression of confidence in a new MB and consequently inviting the current MB to step down is overstepping HRH's powers in a parliamentary democracy. The situation is nothing like an emergency. Besides this is setting a very dangerous precedent, where crucial decisions are made outside the Assembly with no relation to popular votes (if I recall correctly PR collected more than 54% of popular votes for Perak DUN).

  11. What is the Assembly for? If the actions are all in the place, why spend money building the Assembly? Those opposite should ask for a vote in the ASSEMBLY and not palace. What is the speaker and deputy speaker for? She does not know how do her job. The whole process was by pass in the people's court and was held in the Palace.

    So until today, Nizar is legally the MB until a democratic (people who were asked to vote) has taken place especially in the Assembly.

  12. Kaytee

    Heard Zahid Hamidi lamenting no Indian rep in the new government.
    He invited the Pakatan Indian rep to leap-frog to BN to make up the numbers.
    So cute.
    Any takers? We wait and see.
    I suggest MIC people like Palanivel or even Samy Vellu contest the Perak state seat.
    Umno sacrifice one seat for the sake of unity.
    Also simplistic.
    Hmm.. I wish Tun M is still PM.
    He knows how to fix things up.

  13. Dear Eric.

    "For me, as a non-learned lawyer, for the Sultan to assimilate these informal interviews to a proper expression of confidence in a new MB and consequently inviting the current MB to step down is overstepping HRH's powers in a parliamentary democracy. Besides this is setting a very dangerous precedent, where crucial decisions are made outside the Assembly with no relation to popular votes (if I recall correctly PR collected more than 54% of popular votes for Perak DUN)."

    There is some gross misunderstanding here of the our system.

    The constitution views that individuals are elected, not political parties. These elected individuals represent his/her constituency, irrelevant to party affiliation.

    These elected representatives then give confidence to an ADUN to be MB. The ADUN with the majority confidence has met the criteria to be MB. And the Sultan should appoint that ADUN MB.

    There is no provision in the constitution dictating how the Sultan determine majority confidence and on the other side, no majority confidence.

    I personally feel that the ADUN meeting with the Sultan is a sufficient process. We are given enough transparency, we know who has given confidence to an ADUN to be MB, we know who has switched support, we know who has hopped party.

    Another point is that party affiliation is irrelevant. A PR ADUN can legally give confidence to a BN ADUN and vice versa.

    What happened in Perak is that ex MB no longer holds majority confidence and, thus, as per Constitution, "shall hand in his resignation", which in legal term means, legally obligated to hand in his resignation, which means, mandatory resignation without exception, in other words, he is effectively fired.

    The Sultan then learned that another ADUN has gained majority confidence and thus appointed him MB.

    There is no overstepping of power. Nizar has lost majority confidence thus effectively fired and another ADUN has gained it. If the Sultan allowed Nizar to remain MB, he would have ignored the voices of the people's representatives. That would be undemocratic.

    The Sultan acted accordingly within the constitution. He has played his role as he should. The people's representatives have spoken and he listened to it.

    What a lot people wonder is whether the ADUNs that hopped party still represent the will of its people. That is not for the Sultan to determine without strong, quantitative evidence. It is for the constituents of the party hoppers to take action either through a class action suit against the ADUN or through a petition denouncing the ADUN as the rep of the people, sent to DUN and, if ineffective, as last resort to the Sultan.

    Do you realize that PR leadership have ignored the 2nd course of action? It is clear why. They themselves use party hopping and the second option would compromise them as well. So they went ahead to attack the Sultan. Clearly the real enemy here is party hopping.

    Hope that clears things up for you. Most importantly, you have to remember that party affiliation means nothing to the constitution. When you vote ADUN or Parliament member, you are not voting a party, you are voting an individual to represent you. His political affiliation is irrelevant to the law.

  14. The Australian example came to my mind when the Perak debacle unwound itself in the past few days. I didn't realize that the parallels were so close. Thanks for pointing them out.

    What is clear to me now is that the Sultan's reputation and standing have suffered a severe blow, and from the Australian precedent, it is also clear that they are unlikely to be reversed. The Sultan might have followed the constitution, but there are other expert views indicating that he hasn't, and that he has misunderstood the limits of his own powers as provided by the constitution. Whatever it is, it is crystal clear that there are moral and non-legal procedural issues that he, as the guardian of the state in every sense of the word, should have taken into consideration. He has evidently not done so, and in the event, he ends up as the loser.

    Thanks to KTemoc's post, I am now convinced that his illustrious legal career -- and the Australian example bears a striking resemblance here -- proved to be a liability, as he was not able to see the issue from a more holistic perspective, and not merely act according to HIS interpretation of the law. What should have been exercised here, was the more general leadership in the governance of a state, and not action guided by a narrow legal interpretation. Paradoxical as it may seem, a less educated and less legally savvy person might very well have seen the wood for the trees, and arrived at a wiser and fairer decision.

  15. What is clear to me now is that the Sultan's reputation and standing have suffered a severe blow, DID HE ??????


    Many ask why I have been very silent the last 48 hours. Well, that is because I sudah menyampah. Why scream now? If we want to scream make sure we do it before the ship sinks. Once we are in the water we should save our breath for breathing -- if we can keep our heads above water, that is. If not, then quietly drown and die with some dignity. At least you will be remembered for someone who died in style.

    There is a time to talk. There is a time to act. Now is no longer the time to talk. So can all those people who keep sending me messages via SMS about ‘you must do this’ or ‘you must do that’ please stop doing so. You are just wasting your money. I don’t even read them. I just delete them without reading any of them. Stop telling me what I should do. If you feel something should be done, go and do it yourself.
    About a week ago, a few of us sat down to discuss the impending collapse of the Perak government. It was suggested we speak to the Pakatan Rakyat leaders, which we did. Our recommendation was that they dissolve the Perak State Assembly and hold fresh state elections while Pakatan Rakyat still has the majority in the Assembly. Once Pakatan Rakyat has lost that majority it will be too late. No way will the Sultan agree to the request to dissolve the Perak State Assembly once you no longer command the majority in the Assembly.

    But the Pakatan Rakyat leaders would not listen. They still have things under control, they remarked. We did not think so and we told them this. But who are we to ‘teach grandmothers how to suck eggs’, as Malaysians would say? If we are so smart then how come they, and not us, are the party leaders. We would be sitting in their chairs, instead, if we are cleverer than them. Politicians do not think much of you if you do not hold any party positions. They only respect those who hold positions in political parties and government, not those outside mainstream politics.

    When the Rulers of Perlis and Terengganu ‘interfered’ in Umno’s choice of Menteri Besar, we hailed them as great Rulers who are full of justice and wisdom. When the Rulers agreed to allow Pakatan Rakyat to form the Perak and Selangor state governments, they are the best Rulers in the world. Whenever things go our way we are full of praise. But as soon as the decision does not favour us they are haprak Rulers.

    And can you blame the Rulers? DAP had said it will not sit at the same table as PAS, let alone form a coalition government with it, if PAS does not openly and publicly declare it will abandon the Islamic State agenda. PAS, on the other hand, said it shall not openly and publicly declare such a thing. That means DAP and PAS can never form a coalition.

    Then the fight broke out. DAP, PKR and PAS could not agree on how to share out the EXCO positions, the racial quotas, who should hold the posts of Menteri Besar and Speaker, and so on. In Selangor, some DAP State Assemblymen organised demonstrations. In Perak, they threatened to boycott the swearing-in ceremony. Even the trivial matter of the wearing of the songkok during the swearing-in ceremony became a hot issue and almost brought the coalition down before it could even be formed.

    What happened in Perak is good. I hope it will teach Pakatan Rakyat that it has to get its act together. The DAP lady’s crossover was triggered by something very trivial and goes to show she is more concerned about herself than about her party or about the rakyat. Everyone got a new Camry except her. So she sulked (merajuk) and left the party. If she had been given a new car she would not have sulked. A mere car brought the Perak government down.

  16. contd

    I can only say that this serves Pakatan Rakyat right. They had it coming. When personal interests and racial issues override everything else, you deserve to fall. And there are many low quality wakil rakyat still in Pakatan Rakyat -- DAP, PKR as well as PAS. Expect more to cross over. The RM25 million dangled in front of their faces is just too difficult to say no to. After all, not everyone is in politics to serve the rakyat. Many are in it for their personal interests. And RM25 million is an attractive proposition.

    Next time, get better candidates. Some of the Pakatan Rakyat wakil rakyat are so low standard I would not even trust them to baby-sit my dog.

    If the Pakatan Rakyat people are so unprincipled then whom do we blame? Why blame Umno? Blame our people who worship money and pray to the Ringgit. Blame Pakatan Rakyat for fielding low quality people to contest the elections.

    You can take the man out of the kampong but you can’t take the kampong out of the man. Low quality people can’t suddenly become high quality just because they are now wakil rakyat. They will still remain low quality and will kowtow to money because they have no maruah (dignity). That is, after all, what prostitutes do. They open their legs for money. And many in Pakatan Rakyat are prostitutes while those who manage prostitutes and called pimps.

    If I were in Umno I would do exactly the same. I would use the immense wealth that Umno posses to buy over the prostitutes in Pakatan Rakyat. Anyway, is that not what we want Anwar Ibrahim to do? We want Anwar to form a new federal government by enticing at least 30 Parliamentarians from Barisan Nasional to cross over to the opposition. Najib did in Perak exactly what we want Anwar to do at federal level. So, why the sudden outrage? What if three State Assemblymen in Negerl Sembilan cross over and Pakatan Rakyat gets to form the new Negeri Sembilan state government? Would we still express outrage?

    Let’s face it: we lost. Let’s just lick our wounds and learn from this bitter experience. Our leaders were stupid and we paid for this stupidity. We chose poor quality people as candidates. We knew that Umno was trying to buy over our wakil rakyat. We knew they would eventually succeed. But we just stood and watched without launching a pre-emptive strike -- such as dissolving the state assembly when there was time to do so and when we still had the power to do so.

    So who is to be blame ???? You tell me . Rpk's analysis is not far from ours , that we should not blame the Sultans .! Period .

  17. Hahahahaha! You know chaptokam, you never fail to amuse me! I know you dislike RPK. Why quote him at length now, especially since what he says gives factual support to KLX's view, and not yours?? LMAO!!!

    Don't you know that RPK is a royalist apologist? And why is he defending the Perak monarch if not for the fact that his reputation and standing have suffered a severe beating in recent days??

  18. To Anonymous 6:28 PM,

    Sometimes it nice to be not too serious in one's thinking . You know it helps to stimulate the mental faculty .

    And its nice to also know that my postings never fail to amuse you .

    Anyway I am quite amuse myself to have you mention that I dislike RPK . Well I have no dislike for him nor do I like him depends on his views on his articles . I quite like a lot of his articles and his views especially on Anwar , Muslims and Islam , however I find his articles on Altantuya quite not too factual with a lot of spins with some make believes stories .
    When his articles coincide with my thinking I have a tendency to quote from him . Its easier that way so that when others who do not share the same views want to take a bite at me , I shall proclaim that it comes from RPK the Mr Malaysia Today . So please direct all your displeasures to the author of the article . Wakakakaka hahaha . Sounds reasonable isn't it ??

    Well as you said : Don't you know that RPK is a royalist apologist?
    Don't blame him on that cause he's one of them with the title Raja ....

    As for the difference in view between mine and KLX I find that the HRH reputation and standing cannot suffer a severe beating as he is the ruler and answerable to NO one on his decisions . Whatever opinion one has of him has no dire consequences or rather none at all . In lay mans terms he couldn't care too hoods on what one thinks of him . Contrary to KLX who thinks that the Sultan's reputation and standing have suffered a severe blow .

  19. Kt, real sick to read those comments from the same old fools like killer, chaptokan, and xiean and bentoh.Cant this jerkers commment in other blogs.Getting sick already of this old man shit thoughts!or5 is it this are mca arse licking loveras!???