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BN-PR at odds over assembly sitting

IPOH, 7 May 2009: The stand-off continues. The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) considers the Perak assembly sitting today as never having taken place, while the Barisan Nasional (BN) claims it did everything by the book.

The PR said it would discuss possible legal action against the actions by BN assemblypersons today which resulted in speaker V Sivakumar being physically ejected from the House to be replaced by a non-elected speaker R Ganesan from the MIC.

The BN’s Speaker Datuk R Ganesan in black robes

“The sitting never happened. Everything they (the BN) did is completely illegitimate. As far as we’re concerned, Pakatan is still the government and Sivakumar is still the speaker,” embattled Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said at a press conference after the sitting was adjourned indefinitely.

He said the BN motions to remove Sivakumar, to change the membership of three assembly committees, and to declare the 3 March tree assembly unlawful, were illegal because at the time, the sitting had not been convened.

Nizar said the real sitting only convened after the Raja Muda of Perak Raja Nazrin Shah gave his royal address, which ended at about 4pm.

“We don’t acknowledge whatever happened before the Raja Muda gave his address. Only after he spoke, the sitting opened, and then it was adjourned,” said Nizar.

He added that Sivakumar had already rejected the motions a day earlier on 6 May in his speaker’s chambers, and as such, they should not be raised in the assembly.

Pakatan anarchy

Meanwhile, the BN has accused PR representatives of behaving like hooligans. Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir described the PR assemblypersons in the sitting today as “anarchic”.

“They crossed the floor over to our side to harass us. We didn’t say anything when Sivakumar asked us to sit on the opposition’s side of the chamber as we just wanted the sitting to proceed.

“They left their seats and in an uncivilised manner, they attacked the BN representatives and the independents to create a chaotic situation,” Zambry said at a separate press conference.

Zambry also accused PR reps for blocking the Sergeant at Arms from carrying out Ganesan’s instructions to remove Sivakumar. He said Ganesan had no choice but to ask the police to help remove Sivakumar.

Zambry defended Ganesan’s call for the police to intervene in restoring order to the sitting based on Standing Order 90, which allows the speaker to take any action to restore order in the house so long as such action does not contravene provisions in the Standing Orders.

“In the running of a democracy, we cannot allow the tyranny of the minority to decide for the majority,” Zambry said.

Police in the House

Nizar hit out at the BN for using the police to eject Sivakumar from the chambers.

“How can police be allowed into the House? They are supported by the BN machinery. The house has been desecrated and Perak is a police state,” Nizar said.

A few PR assemblypersons intend to lodge police reports on Sivakumar’s removal tomorrow.

DAP Perak chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said that today’s sitting showed that “there is no rule of law, only that might is right.”

Ngeh, Nizar with back to camera, and Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali confer during the
adjournment while Sivakumar stays fast in the speaker’s chair

Sivakumar, at the same press conference, said every order he issued to the Sergeant at Arms today was ignored, but noted that the Sergeant obeyed Ganesan’s instructions.

He said after he was ejected from the chambers, police kept him in a room within the state secretariat building. He was left there and not asked any questions.

Sivakumar’s microphone was also turned off from the main sound system controls while he was seated in the speaker’s chair earlier.

Zambry, when asked whether this was fair, said, “My microphone was also turned off. Every time I tried to speak they (PR reps) came over and tried to stop me. “

Raja Nazrin’s whisper

Just before Raja Nazrin delivered his royal address, he was talking to Ngeh and Nizar.

Asked about what the prince had said, Nizar’s reply was: “Tuanku said he has high regard for the Pakatan Rakyat but he does not want to get involved in this political fight. He just wants to be able to deliver his address.”

At the time when Raja Nazrin entered the chambers and took his place at the royal seat, the PR assemblypersons were standing on the floor as a sign of protest, while the BN reps were in their seats.

After their brief talk with the prince, Ngeh and Nizar asked the PR assemblypersons to return to their seats and all obeyed.

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