Thursday, February 05, 2009

Perak MB Nizar a modern day Jebat?

The die is cast. The royal imprimatur has been given to BN to form the government.

I have to admit that when I first heard of Perak DUN speaker Sivakumar declaring the two froggie nests requiring by-elections because of the pre-signed resignation letters, I wasn’t impressed, more by what I saw as Sivakumar’s indecent haste.

I blogged on that in Legality of undated resignation letters by MPs/ADUNs? where I stated: there’s legal precedence that the courts in a Sabah case had rejected the legality of such undated resignation letters by MPs and ADUNs.

But after reading Malik Imtiaz Sarwar’s Making sense of the Perak controversy I began to have second thoughts.

Malik is one bloke I admire lots and trust for his balanced and fair legal opinions. Briefly in point form (you can read his article yourself), Malik said:

(a) The speaker may be wrong but until he is shown to be wrong through valid process — either in the assembly (to the extent that such process is available) or through the courts — the speaker’s decision must stand.

my visitor Observer had given the same opinion, in fact much earlier than Malik did.

(b) ... it is apparent that the vacancy is established by reference to the position taken by the speaker. This is consistent with the basic principle of parliamentary democracy that it is the speaker who regulates the assembly.

(c) ... it is not for the Election Commission to embark on a fact-finding or adjudicative process as, amongst other things, it does not have the power to do so. In denying the position the speaker has taken, the Election Commission is in effect asserting that that the speaker is wrong. The Election Commission cannot do so. If there is a question as to the correctness of the speaker’s position, then it must be challenged through proper channels.

Hasn't the Perak Sultan, himself a former judge, seen this?

(d) Seen from this perspective, this unprecedented and very curious action of the Election Commission regrettably raises questions as to its motives.

And you thought the last bloke was bad ... eh?

(e) The Election Commission’s stance and the underlying events would afford sufficient cause for the menteri besar to request that the Sultan dissolve the assembly and call for fresh elections.

'... sufficient cause ...'! A damning statement against the impartiality of the EC. But obviously HRH thought differently ... hmmm!

... because, as we have learnt from Malaysiakini No dissolution, new gov't to be sworn in, HRH the Sultan of Perak has seen fit to reject MB Nizar’s recommendation to have the Perak DUN dissolved.

Over at the blog of my good matey Susan Loone, she has posted
If Perak falls into BN’s lap, it would be the Sultan’s doing… based on an email she received, which says [relevant extract]:

if the sultan perak does nothing about the power grab by bn, the sultan will be doing something, he will be sokong the devious najib/umno way of doing things [...}

I wouldn’t go as far as to accuse the Sultan of supporting BN, because then, the BN supporters could accuse HRH of supporting PR if he were to dissolve Perak DUN.

But I believe the Sultan has lost much respect, not because he rejected MB Nizar’s recommendation, but because MB Nizar has defied his instructions to step down as MB and transfer power to the BN - see Malaysiakini Nizar disregards sultan's call to step down.

I trust you realize the import of a Malay defying a royal command. If it had been Anwar Ibrahim, I would say poorah … but Nizar? Wow!

Nizar must have been so incensed by the BN coup d’etat and that HRH couldn't/didn't (wouldn't?) see the legality and logic of the issues as Malik Imtiaz Sarwar had, that it drove him to do the unimaginable of a Malay ...

... making Nizar a modern day Jebat - mind you, not the traditional monarchist version of Jebat the rebellious traitor, but Ahmad Kassim's model ... which Dr Bakri Musa wrote in Malaysiakini:

Kassim frontally challenged the orthodox Malay thinking on authority, and royalty in particular. According to Kassim, the real hero is not Hang Tuah, rather the hitherto presumed renegade, Hang Jebat.

To Kassim, Tuah is the typical palace sycophant who willingly sells his body and soul to the sultan, a loyalty conveniently reinforced by whatever largesse the sultan could bestow.

Jebat is the rugged individualist, not awed by those who wield power. His loyalty is to institutions, not individuals. To Kassim, Jebat is the true hero, not the prodigal son, Tuah.

For more, see my old (2006) post Hang Jebat lives again, but ...!

... which is why I say HRH has lost humongous respect. And what an ironical outcome for such a learned person!

And it's doubly ironical because, according to Malaysiakini, 'Sultan Azlan Shah has written in Constitutional Monarchy, Rule of Law and Good Governance in 2004 that no sultan or agung had withheld consent to dissolve legislative body, except in Kelantan in 1977.'

'Under normal circumstances, it is taken for granted that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong would not withhold his consent to a request for dissolution of parliament. His role is purely formal.'

It seems our Nizar said: "I explained to his majesty that following a guidebook that the Perak sultan had written on the monarchy, the sultan should follow my advice as leader of the house to dissolve the assembly."

wakakakakakakakaka - surely a first for a royal cakap ta'serupa bikin

Of course the PR people won’t recall it was Anwar Ibrahim who started this nonsense of frogs. Mind you, his 'backdoor antics to power' don't justify the BN’s coup d’etat through froggies, but alas, the PR has lost the moral high grounds to criticize the BN for doing to them what they had wanted to do to the BN.

I am one of those who have never been too comfy giving too much political say to constitutional monarchy, but I too would like to know, why HRH has refused to agree to the dissolution of the DUN?

I am sure there’ll be lots of opinion, with some not complimentary at all.


  1. Not much could be expected from HRH given that the HRH's have failed to make the UMNO/BN Govt accountable in over thirty years of corruption, racism and misrule.

    As for disrespect to HRH, the BN Govt has failed to implement 2 Royal Commission of Inquiry recommendations.

    Nevertheless, given the poor quality of the Aduns who crossed over in Perak, it is nothing short of astonishing that HRH should have expressed 'confidence' in a nest of probable thieves. The obvious and fair action would have been to ask the PEOPLE for a fresh mandate.

    As for Pakatan, they may have lost the battle but the fury among the Rakyat will ensure that Najib/UMNO/BN will lose the war eventually. So Nizar should bow out gracefully and lay seige to BN at the State Assembly to paralyse them. Now, that's politics!!

  2. For my 2 cents worth of comment:

    Is it possible that the sultan would prefer an assembly more represented by the Malays instead of non-Malays. That could explain the reason why he choose not to see the folly of his decision and the haste on executing his decision in spite of the exposition of the how the coup came about!

    As a supposedly learned person, it is unbelievable that he lacked the details of the event to be able to arrive at a decent decision.

    One thing is for certain arising from his determination.... he is sending out signals that corruption and rampant flaunting of the rule of law is acceptable in the state of Perak.

    One lesson to be learned here is that we can no longer rely on the royals to come to our assistance in times of needs.....we just have to depend upon ourselves.

    Regarding your argument that Anwar started the party hopping process, the difference is that he did not succeed in achieving any pivotal crossings and Najib did.

    Had Anwar succeeded in getting the pivotal cross over through corrupt means or threats, then, he will be the one facing the hugh uproar that Najib is now facing.

  3. anon, u cannot excuse AI merely because he wasn't successful in frog hunting like Najib has been - it was not due to lack of intent or trying but more because of his sheer bullshit and incompetence

  4. Dear KT, I can see where the rationale for HRH's decision came from. It started with the pre signed letters of resignation which everyone knows is not valid and will not stand up in court but still used as a time wasting technique while they think of other ideas. Then it was the settling for bye-elections when they thought only two is involved. They could have chosen to disband then, when they are still in the majority but they didn't. They only decided to disband after they are no longer in the majority which everyone knows means you can do that because, well, you are no longer the majority. Then Nizar made a fatal mistake of disbanding before getting royal consent. Hey, that would pissed off anybody.

  5. Can we, can the people challenge HRH's decision in court? His move to remove MB Nizar (If Nizar doesn't resign, his MB seat will be seen as vacated) could have been wrong according to constitution...

  6. I am more interested in the bigger picture.
    Who is the hero in this episode?
    Najib who is playing PM in this coup with a month to go before he really becomes no I?
    Or is it Abdullah who added a state to his cap -- increasing the people's mandate with another state captured.
    This will give him grounds to stay on.
    Don't be surprised there will be demos wanting him to stay on.
    I think Dollah is the quiet victor.
    Untainted hands and all.
    Then there is the presumptive MB Zahid Hamidi.
    Notice him with Najib at all times during the episode.
    They were waiting for him to win the Vice-President post. Then a by-election will be called.
    The loser is Tajul Rosli.
    The four toads or frogs are just numbers who determine which party rules Perak.
    Seriously you can't depend on Jamaluddin Mohd Razdi or Mohd Osman Jailu who are facing corruption charges.
    BN could have waited for the outcome instead of regarding them as "friends"
    If there are by-elections, BN may win and it will ne a satisfactory one.
    The clerk-turned politician Hee is the dark horse sulking lady who was looking for materialistic gain.
    Then there is the Datuk Nasaruddin Hashim the 11 day-wonder who treats UMNO like a revolving door.
    The game will continue.
    Stay tuned.

  7. It took a PAS man to be the modern Jebat. Say what you like about the PAS people they have integrity which BN simply does not have and which the DAP will find hard to equal. How PAS managed to hang on to Kelantan with a one seat majority is nothing short of miraculous in the face of the BN financial might. Now I know I made the right choice by voting PAS and enabling them to win in my state constituency in March 08'. I have met my PAS ADUN several times and you won't believe the humility of the man. By the way I am non-Muslim and drinks like a fish when I get the chance to but I must respect PAS for their integrity.

  8. kt,

    go read the latest piece from razaleigh and you will see that the royalty has lost the plot, so to speak.
    yes, my utmost respect for the Perak royalty is shattered.
    To me, its just 4 lost years and cometh GE, the backlash against BN will be strong and decisive.
    Meantime, the biggest loser is not PR. Its the royalty coz for all the solid reputation built up over the years, its shattered now. I really really feel so sad being a Perakian. What can we do but to be patient.

  9. vinnan,

    same as you. voted for PAS (Dr Lo Lo)for the first time in my life.
    Hudud, why should I be worry? I am more concern with C4s, commissions for arm purchases, missing Balas and a PM in waiting who has no regard for the rule of law and sanctity of the institutions.

  10. Dear Ktemoc

    How is "sultanism" compatible with
    popular democracy in the 21st century??

    I prefer to pay my respects to
    European royalty such as Queen Juliana of the Netherlands who biked around like a commoner and King Juan Carlos of Spain who defended the fledgling Spanish democracy against die-hard
    fascists in the 1980s.

    Phua Kai Lit

  11. Phua
    The issue here is not about the question of modern day monarchy, which is protected under the Malaysian Constitution, and which should be respected and upheld by all citizens.

    The issue in Perak today is the puzzling question of why HRH, a learned law expert, and having written on "Constitutional Monarchy, Rule of Law and Good Governance" in 2004, where he stated that no sultan or agung had withheld consent to dissolve legislative body, except in Kelantan in 1977, has done the exact opposite?

    I too would like to know why.

  12. I don't like the idea of toppling an elected government through frogs one bit at all - whether its done by PKR or by BN.

    My mateys, who include some top-class retired lawyers had a sombre round of drinks last night, and we ended up with a heavy conversation around the Constitution.

    I think the Sultan, faced with the swirling political controversy, chose to focus his decision based on just two paragraphs in the Perak Constitution - the Constitution of Malaysia has similar wordings.

    (a) the Ruler shall first appoint as Menteri Besar to preside over the Executive Council a member of the State Legislature who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislature; and

    (b) If the Menteri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the State Legislature, then, unless at his request the Ruler dissolves State Legislature, Menteri Besar shall tender his resignation and that of the Executive Council.

    There you are, a very narrow focus on the constitution, setting aside any issues about frogging, whether the resulting government represents the will of the people etc. etc.

    I'm afraid its appropriate per the Constitution.

    I'm also afraid if Anwar Ibrahim does manage to pull off his Federal frogs, it is also Constitutional for him to force the resignation of the BN Federal Government, like it, or not.

    The die is cast. The precedent has been set. Its a sad day for Malaysia, and there may be more sad days ahead.

    But the struggle goes on. I'm not really a PR supporter, but I support a better Malaysia.
    At this moment, BN definitely DOES NOT stand for a better Malaysia. We just had a bloody obvious confirmation last night.

  13. Nizar is from PAS but his character differs so much from those skullcap PAS leaders and members who are wolfs in sheep clothings . That also goes for the young turks who object to anything and everything of western culture including preventing female performers from performing here , line dance , rock bands etc etc . And there are those PAS leaders who collaborate with UMNO and nearly brought the whole party PAS into marriage of convienence with UMNO or sleeping with the enemy .

    Would I vote for PAS ? NO but I would vote for NIZAR . To me they are still possessing Taliban mentality .And I wouldn't lump Nizar with the bunch of those Talibans .

  14. Observer 9:25 AM

    What you have written regarding HRH chose to focus his decision based on just two paragraphs in the Perak Constitution is the correct assumption and analysis.
    the Ruler shall first appoint as Menteri Besar to preside over the Executive Council a member of the State Legislature who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislature;

    When the three started disappearing NIZAR should have gone to see the Sultan to dissolve the assembly , when he still command the confidence of the majority . However he did NOT and only did so when they have resigned thereby confirming that he has lost the confidence of the majority and also his power to dissolve the assembly .
    HRH had also in fact had an audience with the gang of four to confirm that they had in fact defected and switch camps .
    So lets leave all negative and uncall for remarks on HRH aside , HRH is a wise and good ruler . I hate to see people postings remarks which borders on near sedition and thinks they know more than the ruler on legality , the constitution and how to rule as a ruler .

    However I do NOT share your opinion that BN definitely DOES NOT stand for a better Malaysia.In fact PR is also fits the same tag . Politics Is Politics , Its a damn dirty game , and the name of the game is for their own self interest . Thats why a lot of people refuse to be involve in politics and view all politicans as dirty .
    However this fight between the good and the evil will eventually evolve into a better Malaysia as history shows . The fight between them is unavoidable even in the spiritual world and who knows even in the universe this is happening between the good and evil forces .


    "Kesetiaan kepada Raja dan Negara"